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Last Updated: Monday, 23 February, 2004, 15:52 GMT
Wave machine ready for sea trials
Wave farm
Artists impression of a Pelamis wave farm
A new floating wave power machine aimed at helping Scotland meet ambitious green energy targets has been unveiled in Edinburgh.

The Pelamis energy converter, manufactured by Ocean Power Delivery, should generate enough electricity to power 500 homes.

The prototype will be tested in Orkney later this year.

The Scottish Executive wants 40% of Scotland's energy to come from renewable sources by 2020.

The generator is the length of four train carriages and is designed so that hinged joints between the sections move in the waves.

Trial hopes

The motion powers hydraulic motors which generate the electricity and the firm claims a square kilometre wave farm would power up to 20,000 homes.

Max Carcas, from Ocean Power Delivery, said the system was designed to stick pointing out to sea.

Mr Carcas said: "If you think of somebody standing on a beach, arms outstretched, and a big wave comes up and hits you, you'll end up on your backside half-way up the beach.

Wave machine
The Pelamis is now ready for field trials
"But if instead, when that wave comes, you dive through the wave you pop out the other side and wonder what all the fuss was about.

"That's really the case here, we've got a minimal cross section area pointing into the waves."

Enterprise Minister Jim Wallace said the move to power-generating projects like the Pelamis was an obvious step.

Mr Wallace said: "We've got winds, we've got the seas, and I think it does mean that although our target of 40% electricity generated by 2020 is an ambitious one, I think it is one we can achieve."

Commercial companies are said to have shown interest in the project, subject to successful trials off the coast of Orkney.

BBC Scotland's Elizabeth Quigley
"It's the size of four train carriages"

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