A Scottish wave power company has announced that it has received an additional $14.7 million in funding for continued development of their “Oyster” wave technology.
Aquamarine’s Oyster wave power device has a large hinged flap that moves with the waves and drives hydraulic pistons that push high pressure water onto shore to a hydro-electric turbine. The company’s first Oyster wave converter was deployed off the coast of Scotland in 2009 and has been providing power to the country’s grid. Now Aquamarine is working on the next generation of this technology, which it plans to commercialize.
SSE Venture Capital, the VC arm of Scottish clean power company SSE Renewables, also participated in Aquamarine’s recent round, and SSE Renewables has been working with the company to co-develop up to 1 GW of Oyster sites. Aquamarine says the joint venture is building a 2 MW demonstration site planned for 2011, which will be expanded to 10 MW in 2012, and eventually 200 MW.
As the article states shortly afterward, wave and tidal power is in its very beginning stages of development with many hurdles. However, the potential for wave and tidal energy sources is vast. Compared to wind or solar, wave power has the potential to be constant, no matter if rain or shine or calm air. But it is this constant power that developers have to take into account to build sturdy enough equipment.
Nevertheless, just as with algae biofuels, wave and tidal power sources have a lot of potential once the technology has been successfully developed.
A small British company has received $5.6 million in financing to help develop its tidal power, bringing the total for Marine Current Turbines to roughly $48 million.
With this most recent injection of cash, which came from Carbon Trust Investments, Bank Invest, EDF Energy and High Tide, as well as private and government investors, Marine Current Turbines has raised roughly $48 million. The company is trying to raise further cash to help it build a five-kilowatt array based on its “SeaGen” prototype.
The SeaGen is akin to a submerged windmill that is driven by flowing water, and the Bristol-based company already has a small-scale operation established in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, where it has been generating 1.2 megawatts of electricity since April 2008.
Considering SeaGen’s development costs, its makers reckon the device generates electricity at about $5.5 million per megawatt installed — or roughly double the cost of offshore wind energy.
I’ve always liked tidal power as a source of alternative energy since A) they are out of sight and don’t interrupt a landscape and B) are not reliant on windy or sunny days. Now if they can only bring down the costs…