Two Scottish firms have secured £2.5million to trial prototype technology which could provide a cost-effective, reliable way of turning wave power into electricity.
Inverness-based development body Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has awarded the funding to Edinburgh companies Artemis Intelligent Power and Quoceant.
Yesterday Artemis’ managing director Niall Caldwell said Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) would be a “very strong contender” as a test site for the equipment once it is ready for sea trials.
Mr Caldwell said the companies believe their Quantor “digital displacement hydraulics” system is a “fundamental advance” in capturing mechanical power generated by renewable sources.
He added: “We have combined the established advantages of hydraulic power – controlling tremendous forces in harsh environments at comparatively low cost – with the latest in smart digital control, to enable dramatic improvements in efficiency and controllability of wave energy devices.”
With the WES backing they will build and demonstrate a complete hybrid power transmission on a laboratory test rig. It will simulate the behaviour of a wave energy converter responding to a range of different real sea conditions.
The technology has been developed with engineering consultancy Quoceant, whose team pioneered the Pelamis wave energy device.
“Quoceant’s engineers have accumulated thousands of sea hours of practical experience in hydraulic power systems, and we have already proven in the lab that the Quantor concept performs as we expected,” Mr Caldwell said.
“Although the testing is taking place in a controlled environment in Edinburgh we will ultimately move on to full scale testing at sea, and EMEC would be a very strong contender to be an early test site.”
The Quantor project was one of three technologies chosen by WES for its their power take-off (PTO) development programme. The others, which also each received just under £2.5million, were the University of Edinburgh and Umbra Cuscinetti SpA.
WES managing director, Tim Hurst, said: “After an extensive evaluation process, these technologies were assessed to be the best in the programme and worthy of further development.”
Yesterday also saw a new Europe-wide marine energy fund, worth almost £15million, launched by development agency Scottish Enterprise.
Financed by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, the OCEANERA-NET COFUND project involves a consortium of seven governments and agencies.
It will open next month to companies and research organisations to “support collaborative research projects which demonstrate and validate ocean energy technologies.”