ABB Backs Oyster Wave Machine

ABB, a Swiss-Swedish giant in power and automation technology, has provided £8 million ($12.6 million) while £3 million has come from existing shareholders, including Scottish and Southern Energy’s ventures unit.

‘This is a game-changing moment for our company and for the UK’s marine energy industry,’ said Aquamarine Power CEO Martin McAdam.

‘ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies and they have taken a strategic decision to invest in Oyster technology. Through working together, ABB will gain an early-mover advantage in our wave energy technology, whilst we will be able to access ABB’s technical, research and engineering expertise and utilise their global supply chain network.’

Aquamarine’s Oyster device is a buoyant hinged flap that is attached to the seabed at a depth of about 10 metres and a distance of about 0.5 km from the shore.

The flap moves with the impact of waves to drive hydraulic pistons that push water onshore to drive a hydro-electric turbine. The first full-scale Oyster was installed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland, in November 2009.

Aquamarine is monitoring the performance of the device to help it design the next-generation Oyster 2. The company aims to establish farms that combine devices to each achieve a capacity of 100 MW or more.

‘Wave energy is primed to become an important part of the world’s renewable energy portfolio,’ said Brice Koch, head of ABB Marketing and Customer Solutions.

‘This investment reflects our belief in its technical viability, and our confidence in Aquamarine Power’s technology and its management team.’

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