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Move over Nessie - new wave power system sighted at Loch Ness

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May 19, 2010

The 1/9th scale version of the AWS III wave energy system at Loch Ness

The 1/9th scale version of the AWS III wave energy system at Loch Ness

Solar power might be stealing the limelight when it comes to the subject of renewable energy, but ocean waves are also seen as a great, largely untapped source of clean power. The latest news surrounding attempts to mine this potentially limitless energy source comes from Scottish marine energy technology developer, AWS Ocean Energy, which has started testing its new wave energy device in Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands.

The test unit is a 1/9th scale version of the company’s AWS-III device and consists of a ring-shaped multi-cell surface-floating wave power system. To overcome one of the fundamental barriers to delivering practical wave energy, the AWS-III design eliminates moving mechanical parts coming into contact with sea-water by using a novel system of flexible diaphragms arranged around a steel hull and incorporating air turbines.

AWS Ocean Energy will test the 1/9th scale device on Loch Ness over the next four months, but no electricity will be generated. Instead the tests will provide valuable design data with the goal of confirming the AWS-III’s electricity (and revenue) generation potential.

If the scale device performs as expected AWS Ocean Energy will then build and deploy a full-scale single cell in order to prove the durability of the diaphragms. The company says a single utility-scale AWS-III, measuring around 60 meters in diameter, will be capable of generating up to 2.5 Megawatts (MW) of continuous power. The company then plans to launch a 12-cell, 2.5 MW pre-commercial demonstrator in 2012.

Subject to financing and planning consents, AWS Ocean Energy plans to have a 10 MW pre-commercial demonstration farm operating in 2014.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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