Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power is developing Oyster wave power technology to capture energy found in nearshore waves and convert it into clean sustainable electricity.

The first full-scale 315kW Oyster was officially launched by Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney in November 2009, when it began producing power to the National Grid for the first time.

In 2009, in a ground-breaking development for the marine energy sector, Aquamarine Power signed a joint venture partnership agreement with SSE Renewables to co-develop up to 1GW of marine energy sites using Oyster technology. In March 2010 the joint venture partnership was awarded exclusive rights by The Crown Estate to develop the first 200MW Oyster wave farm.

The device has withstood a full winter in the harsh Atlantic waters off the coast of the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland and has delivered over 6000 operating hours.

Aquamarine Power is now developing the next generation Oyster 2 and will install a single Oyster 2 device this summer with a further two devices to be deployed in 2012. Together the three Oyster 2 devices will form a 2.4MW array connected to a single onshore generating plant.

The technology

Aquamarine Power's Oyster 800 wave energy machineThe Oyster wave power device is a buoyant, hinged flap which is attached to the seabed at around ten metres depth, around half a kilometre from shore.

This hinged flap, which is almost entirely underwater, sways backwards and forwards in the nearshore waves. The movement of the flap drives two hydraulic pistons which push high pressure water onshore to drive a conventional hydro-electric turbine.

The Oyster has been designed to survive because of the following features:

  • By locating Oyster near the shore, the device naturally avoids the massive storm forces which other devices are exposed to in the open ocean.
  • By the time a storm reaches the Oyster, the waves are a maximum 12 metres high. These big waves push the Oyster towards the seabed before it bobs back up to meet the next wave. As the waves get bigger it is pushed further under the water allowing the excess energy in the wave to flow over the top of the Oyster.

This inherent survivability means there is no need for complex control systems or for Oyster to shut down in stormy conditions – it will continue to produce power, whatever the weather.

Working with Aquamarine Power

We were very proud to have been selected in the top ten UK’s Great Places to Work recently.  We think it’s our people that make us great and we’re always looking for more bright motivated people to join our growing team.

Aquamarine Power has seven values at the heart of who they are are:Aquamarine Power team photo

  • integrity
  • nurture
  • safety
  • partnership
  • innovation
  • respect
  • enthusiasm

Together these spell out INSPIRE.

Aqaumarine Power believe in working hard and having fun. Hard work is rewarded via pay rises, bonuses, share options and holiday allowance.

Aquamarine Power receive awardsAquamarine Power believe that fulfilled people means a successful company.Committed to the continuous development of their team, they also help their members achieve their personal and professional goals. Each staff member has a personal development plan to help to help them see where they are going and how to get there.Aquamarine Power run a graduate training programme, a management training programme and an IMechE-accredited development scheme to help our engineers achieve Chartered status. They also sponsor both undergraduate and PhD students and run an undergraduate internship programme.

Informal learning is also encouraged, for example, joining their public speaking club or attending lunchtime talks.

Aquamarine employees share ideasInnovation is at the heart of Aquamarine Power. They are involved in partnerships with highly innovative organisations such as Queen’s University Belfast, ABB and BAE Systems and have won awards for innovation in technology, business and innovative thinking.Aquamarine Power know it is important to encourage innovative thinking throughout the business, and to reward it.Through their Brain Wave Innovation Scheme, new innovative ideas are generated that break down the technical and financial barriers the company faces.