One of the more renewable forms of energy available to humans to harness at the moment is wave power, provided it can be done in a way which minimizes harm to the ocean environment the machinery is in. Aquamarine Power, currently based in the United Kingdom, believes they’ve developed such a device, which is currently deployed in local waters generating energy.
Aquamarine Power’s machine is known as the Oyster. It is a rather simple design, consisting of a “mechanical hinged flap connected to the seabed at around 10m depth.” Waves move the flap as they pass, “driving hydraulic pistons to deliver high pressure water via a pipeline to an onshore electrical turbine.” It is designed for use in “nearshore waves.”
The first Oyster in production is currently in use in the waters in the Orkney region in northern Scotland. Power being generated from this hydro-electric wave energy device is being pushed into the national grid power system. Aquamarine Power believes the potential exists to create sea “farms” of groupings of these machines, saying, for example, that 20 Oysters “would provide enough energy to power 9,000 three bedroom family homes.” A different kind of oyster bed indeed.