Wave Hub has a new customer, with the first full-scale wave energy device due to be installed later this year.
Ocean Energy Limited, Ireland’s leading wave energy company, expects to deploy the device by the end of this year having tested a quarter scale prototype of its OE Buoy in Galway Bay for three years.
This means that two of Wave Hub’s four berths off the Hayle coast have now been reserved. US and UK-based Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has already signed a commitment agreement to deploy its PowerBuoy device, although no date has yet been set.
Wave Hub will match fund deployment costs up to a maximum of £1 million, following a competition last year for device developers able to deploy in 2012.
Wave Hub general manager Claire Gibson said: “I am pleased to confirm our partnership with Ocean Energy Limited and look forward to assisting them with their deployment at Wave Hub later this year.
“Ocean Energy has completed three years of prototype testing in energetic sea conditions and is ready to make the next step to Wave Hub with a full scale device. If the testing goes well we expect to see Ocean Energy deploy an array of devices at Wave Hub.
“By supporting Ocean Energy’s deployment now we can fully test our operational procedures and establish the process for securing a Marine Licence. This will support and accelerate further deployments at Wave Hub.”
John McCarthy, chief executive and co-founder of Ocean Energy, added: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Wave Hub to deploy our technology at their Hayle facility. Cornwall has been to the forefront in developing and incubating the wave energy sector and is well placed to reap the rewards of this foresight with an excellent range of services available locally.”
Ocean Energy said it will now consider fabricating its 1.5 MW device locally.
Ocean Energy’s OE Buoy uses the oscillating water column principle. As waves enter a subsea chamber they force air through a turbine on the surface, generating electricity. As the waves recede they cause a vacuum, drawing air back through the turbine.
Ocean Energy’s technology means the turbine rotates continuously regardless of the direction of the airflow. This improves efficiency and means it only has one moving part, minimising maintenance costs.
The announcement follows south west England’s recent designation as the UK’s first Marine Energy Park.