Testing begins on sea bed wave power generator

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London-listed investment group Renewable Energy Holdings has started testing its "CETO II" wave power system in Western Australia

The company, which has offices in London and the Isle of Man, has installed three of the submerged wave pumps off the coast near Perth in order to determine its power output.

CETO II is the second prototype of this wave power generator, with a third, full-scale version expected to be deployed on successful completion of these tests later this year.

REH is working with the technology’s inventor, Australian renewable energy developer Carnegie Corporation, to test the CETO II devices, which use the power of the waves to force water through turbines located onshore.

Commenting on CETO’s progress, REH chief executive officer Mike Proffitt, said: “This is an important milestone for the commercialisation of our technology, as we can now instrument and record an aggregation of pumps working together. We plan to collect operating data for this array of three pumps and to add several more pumps to the aggregation. This will pave the way for the construction of CETO III commercial scale pump and its deployment in early 2009.”

Renewable Energy Holdings has been listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market since February 2005. Incorporated in 2004 as an international investor in both proven and experimental renewable technology, REH owns two operational wind farm sites in Germany – Kesfeld (32.5MW) and Kirf (8MW).

In addition, the company is at various stages of development of more wind farm sites in Poland and Wales.

The company also owns a landfill gas project in Powys, Wales, which is at an early stage of gas collection, currently producing 1MW of energy, a level that is expected to increase as the landfill matures.


Named after a Greek marine goddess, the CETO pump is a fully submerged wave energy pump that can generate both electricity and fresh water with zero carbon emissions.

It uses an array of subsea buoys that are tethered to seabed pump units. The buoys move in harmony with the motion of the passing waves, driving the pumps which in turn deliver sea water at pressure ashore via a pipeline.

The high-pressure seawater can then be used to drive hydro turbines, generating zero-emission electricity. In addition, the high pressure sea water can be used to supply a reverse osmosis desalination plant, replacing greenhouse gas emitting pumps usually required for such plants. By pumping sea water to shore at high pressure, the technology can either generate hydro electricity via an onshore turbine, or produce water using reverse osmosis desalination technology.

Already, the investor has announced plans for the CETO wave energy device to be installed in Vancouver and Bermuda.

Early in August this year, REH signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bermuda-based Triton Renewable Energy to build and operate 2MW wave farms for testing, and later a grid-connected 20MW installation. Negotiations are expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

Although at present it looks unlikely that the device will be tested in the UK, a spokeswoman for REH confirmed that the company is considering sites in both France and Ireland.

The CETO technology was conceived by Carnegie Corporation chairman Alan Burns, and has been in development for nearly 10 years.

The system, which is said to have a lifespan of up to 30 years, is the world’s first wave technology to be fully submerged underwater, yet it requires no undersea grids or marine qualified plants. According to Carnegie, roughly 60% of the world lives within 40 miles of coastline, which minimises the need for transmission in wave power, bypassing a lot of the issues caused by transmitting energy over long distances.

Furthermore, the developers champion wave power as more predictable and more powerful than wind, and, as it attracts marine life to the subsea infrastructure, more environmentally-friendly.

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