The Oyster Converter Is Finally Operational

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It is among the first wave energy converting devices

In the distinguished presence of Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond MP, MSP, the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) recently saw the commissioning of the Oyster device, one of the first wave energy converting machines in the world to become fully operational. Developed by Aquamarine Power and experts at the Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), the amazing feat of engineering is bound to make the industry take a giant leap forward in the direction of constructing more and more such devices, experts at the university hope.

At this point, the Oyster is the only hydro-electric wave energy device actually producing usable electric energy in the world. It is pumping high amounts of water to its hydro-electric turbines, which are located onshore. The resulting power will be fed into the National Grid, experts managing the instrument say, and then used to power up homes in Orkney and beyond. According to estimates, 20 Oyster devices working in a single farm would produce sufficient amounts of electricity to power up 9,000 three-bedroom family homes.

“The concept of Oyster came about through research in our wave-tank facility at Queen’s. The launch of Oyster is both a major landmark in terms of carbon-free sustainable energy production and a proud day for Queen’s University Belfast, which already has a reputation as being one of the leading wave-power research groups in the world. In fact Oyster is the third prototype demonstration wave power project which the team at Queen’s has instigated in the past 20 years,” explains the principal investigator of the machine, QUB School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering professor Trevor Whittaker.

“I am delighted to confirm further R&D funding of almost £1m to Aquamarine Power for the development of Oyster 2, which could be installed within two years. Through our investments and initiatives such as the Saltire Prize, the Scottish Government is working to ensure we capitalize on our rich natural resources, to meet our ambitious climate change targets, to create more high-skilled green jobs and to make a substantial contribution to one of the most pressing global challenges,” Minister Salmond said at the opening ceremony.

“This is a fantastic day for the wave energy industry and for Aquamarine Power. We have proved what we always believed – that wave energy can produce sustainable zero-emission electricity to power our homes. The UK has one of the best wave resources in the world. Now it also has the best technology,” concluded the Chief Executive Officer of Aquamarine Power, Martin McAdam.

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  1. I predict the Oyster, most popular shall sit,

    Along the coasts of oceans, installed bit by bit,

    A natural man-made giant clam adapted to the sea,

    To open and to close by waves and from them power seize.

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