New wave of investment for tidal power company | 15 December 08

A PIONEERING tidal power company has secured a new wave of investment with help from North law firm Ward Hadaway.

Newcastle-based Ocean Flow Energy is set to develop its Evopod tidal energy technology to the next stage after concluding a funding agreement with Aquamarine Power Ltd, a leading wave and tidal power technology developer based in Scotland.

Evopod is a device for generating green electricity from free flowing tidal streams and ocean currents. Drawing on technologies used in the offshore oil and gas,marine and wind turbine industries, Evopod uses a mooring system that allows it to float freely on the water while staying in the optimum position to take advantage of tides and currents.

The device can be accessed by boat for maintenance and is designed to operate in severe wind and wave conditions.

The device is currently being tested in trials near the coast of Northern Ireland.

Evopod has been developed by Graeme Mackie, founder and managing director of Ocean Flow Energy, and a naval architect with 35 years’ experience in marine design.

Helped by a research and development grant from regional development agency One NorthEast, testing of a 1/10th scale prototype of the Evopod was started in June this year.

The undisclosed investment from Aquamarine Power means that the scale prototype will be developed and tested further.

Graeme Mackie, Ocean Flow Energy’s Managing Director, said: “This is a major step along the road to getting Evopod into full scale production.

“Not only does securing this investment mean we will be able to take the technology further, it is also an important demonstration of the confidence that other people have in the device and in its potential to create green energy.

“We are very grateful to the team at Ward Hadaway for helping to advise us on this investment. They worked very hard to ensure that everyone was happy with the investment and that all the details were ironed out.”

Colin Hewitt and Ross Paterson from Ward Hadaway advised the company on the investment.

Colin Hewitt said: “Ocean Flow Energy has developed genuinely cutting-edge technology that could be of enormous benefit to the UK’s efforts to generate energy from renewable sources and combat climate change.

“It is also further evidence of the great strides being taken by the North-East offshore technology industries.

“It is fantastic that technology like this is being developed right on our doorstep so we were delighted to be able to help Graeme and the Ocean Flow team to secure this very important investment.”

Martin McAdam, CEO of Aquamarine Power, said, “We are very enthusiastic about the new partnership with Ocean Flow Energy. It is an important step toward accessing the full range of tidal stream energy out there.

“Complimenting Aquamarine Power’s offshore tidal technology, which operates in depths of up to 40 metres and is fixed to the seabed, the Evopod technology operates in even deeper water locations. When coupled with the Neptune technology, we can target an even greater number of sites.

“With more than 50% of the UK’s tidal resource located in waters greater than 40 metres deep, the market demand for Evopod is expected to be very strong and Aquamarine Power will be taking full advantage of that.”

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