Defying a strong cleantech funding undertow, Edinburgh, Scotland-based wave energy outfit Aquamarine Power said last week that it raised $17.4 million in new funding for its "Oyster" ocean technology.
If the name sounds familiar, that's because. The Oyster uses a hinged flap that, moving with the waves, activates hydraulic pistons that drive a hydro-electric turbine located on-shore.
At the time, we asked: can it help successfully commercialize wave power?
Apparently, the investors at automation and power conglomerate ABB think so, adding $12.6 million to the pot. So do the folks at SSE Venture Capital, whose parent company has been working with Aquamarine Power to co-develop up to 1 gigawatt's worth of Oyster deployments.
(On deck: a 2-megawatt demonstration site planned for 2011.)
Wave power is a novel take on clean power generation (), but it has yet to really gain the traction that solar and wind power have. The big hurdle? Scaling the technology to make a significant impact on the grid, all while keeping quality up and cost down.
But that hasn't stopped others who see potential in the sea.
Earth2Tech's Katie Fehrenbacher offers context:
Companies like Lockheed Martin, Wavebob and OpenHydro are working on technologies to capture energy from waves, tides, currents and the ocean’s thermal gradients on a scale that could eventually make the sea a major contributor to the nation’s clean energy supply. According to a report released last month by the research firm Emerging Energy Research, “The global ocean energy sector is at a turning point,” with more than 45 wave and tidal prototypes slated for ocean testing in 2010 and 2011, up from only nine tested last year.
Can wave power make a difference? It's still too early to judge. But with more than 12,000 miles of coastline, the U.S. is in a fine position to leverage its natural assets.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com