Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Wednesday, 11 March 2009

New firm in wave energy scheme

Orecon buoy
Orecon's device uses air pressure to drive a turbine

A pioneering wave energy project in Cornwall has taken on a new partner after an Australian firm pulled out.

Bodmin-based Orecon will take over as the fourth firm testing its energy-producing devices off Cornwall.

The devices will be linked to the mainland through a socket, or Wave Hub, which is due to start delivering power in 2011.

The £28m scheme will be the UK's first offshore facility for demonstrating a commercial-scale wave power plant.

Oceanlinx said it had been forced to drop out of the scheme after winning a grant to develop an Australian scheme.

If the tests, at a site 10 miles off Hayle, are successful it could lead to the world's largest wave energy farm.

Orecon, which was founded in 2002, sees the scheme as an opportunity to develop its wave energy buoys.

'Crucial stage'

Each buoy, which is similar to a bottle with its bottom cut off, contains three wave chambers.

The wave chamber stands in the water and as a wave goes by the water level rises then falls.

As the water rises air is pushed out of the neck of the bottle, as the water level falls air is sucked in.

A wind turbine is sited in the neck of the bottle, and the air rushing in and out generates electricity.

The Wave Hub project is part financed by the government, the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) and the EU.

Construction is due to start in May 2010 and be completed by August 2010, with the first wave energy devices expected to be deployed in 2011.

David Crisp, chief executive of Orecon, said: "Wave Hub will give us the development platform we need to prove our technology to the world and we're delighted to have been selected as one of the RDA's partners."

Nick Harrington, head of marine energy at the RDA, said: "Orecon is at a crucial stage in developing its technology and we hope Wave Hub will be the springboard to full scale commercialisation."

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SEE ALSO
Wave power firm in plans to float
26 Oct 07 |  Business
New partner in wave power scheme
12 May 07 |  Cornwall
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17 Nov 08 |  Cornwall

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