SEA TRIALS of a string of colossal electricitygenerating sausages are to start in the Firth of Forth in a fortnight's time.
Tests on the prototype Pelamis wave power generator will allow developer Ocean Power Delivery (OPD) to iron out unforeseen glitches before it is towed to Orkney at Easter, where it will be plugged into the national grid.
In Orkney it will undergo long-term performance monitoring.
Pelamis generators consist of four buoyant sausages, 150m long by 3.5m diameter and weighing 700t. Articulated joints house hydraulic rams that are pumped back and forth by waveinduced vertical and horizontal movement, driving on-board generators.
The articulated joints had a year of development on dry land at OPD's Edinburgh headquarters (NCE 31 October 2002).
OPD is hoping that by the end of this year Pelamis' generating performance will be proven, leading to the first orders. It is already in discussion with the South West of England Redevelopment Agency about installing its machines off the north coast of Cornwall or Devon.