Wave energy developer Aquamarine Power invited Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond to unveil the Oyster 800, the company’s next-generation hydro-electric wave energy converter.
At a ceremony at Burntisland Fabrications’ yard at Methil, Fife, the First Minister welcomed the advancements in wave energy conversion being made by Aquamarine Power and unveiled the 800kW device. It will now be transported by sea from the Firth of Forth to the European Marine Energy Centre (Emec) in Orkney for installation later this summer.
The project has been supported through grant funding awarded by Scottish Enterprise and the Carbon Trust Marine Renewables Proving Fund.
Aquamarine Power installed and grid-connected its first full-scale 315kW Oyster at Emec in 2009. This first device operated through two winters and delivered over 6000 operating hours.
The Oyster 800 operates in the same way as Oyster 1, but Aquamarine Power has used data and lessons learned from the first Oyster to significantly improve its power output, simplify installation and allow easier routine maintenance.
The device shape has been modified and made wider to enable it to capture more wave energy. It is now mounted on two seabed piles, rather than four to simplify installation. Oyster 800 has also been designed to make maintenance and operations easier and more cost effective.
The device was manufactured by Burntisland Fabrications at its Methil and Arnish yards.
The Oyster 800 will be the first of three devices to be installed at Emec, with further Oysters to be deployed in 2012 and 2013. All three Oysters will be linked to an onshore hydro-electric plant to form a 2.4MW array.
A jack-up barge is currently stationed at Emec’s Billia Croo site, just north of Stromness, and has begun drilling piles into the seabed to provide foundations for Oyster.
The installation of the Oyster 800 will see the device being fixed to the seabed around 500 metres from the shore. This will be followed by a commissioning process which will see it connected to an onshore hydro-electric generator via subsea pipelines.