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 February 09, 2012
Ocean Energy set to plug into Cornwall's Wave Hub

 A giant marine power socket off the south-west coast of England has attracted its second tenant, after Ocean Energy signed up to plug its 1.5 MW wave power OE Buoy into the flagship testing facility.

The Wave Hub project today confirmed Cork-based Ocean Energy and its partner Dresser-Rand will deploy a full-scale device, which uses the oscillating water column principle to generate electricity.

The system, which is expected to be in place by the end of the year, captures waves in a subsea chamber, forcing air through a turbine on the surface that generates electricity. As the waves recede they create a vacuum, drawing air back through the turbine. Ocean Energy's technology claims that its turbine rotates continuously regardless of the direction of the airflow, boosting efficiency and reducing the number of moving parts.

The news means the £42m Wave Hub project has now secured devices for two of the four berths located off the north coast of Cornwall, after Ocean Power Technologies last year signed a commitment agreement to deploy its PowerBuoy device at the site.

Wave Hub general manager Claire Gibson welcomed the latest news, adding that Ocean Energy was "ready to take the next step to commercialisation", following three years of prototype testing in Galway Bay.

"If the testing goes well we expect to see Ocean Energy deploy an array of devices at Wave Hub," she said.

"By supporting Ocean Energy's deployment now we can fully test our operational procedures and establish the process for securing a Marine Licence. This will support and accelerate further deployments at Wave Hub."

The government-owned Wave Hub will match some of Ocean Energy's deployment costs up to a maximum of £1m, following a competition last year for device developers able to deploy technologies in 2012.

The news will also provide a major boost to south-west England, which was recently named as the UK's first Marine Energy Park by Climate Minister Greng Barker.

John McCarthy, chief executive and co-founder of Ocean Energy, said he was delighted to have been chosen by Wave Hub and would now consider fabricating its 1.5 MW device locally.

"Cornwall has been at the forefront in developing and incubating the wave energy sector and is well placed to reap the rewards of this foresight with an excellent range of services available locally," he said.