Technology:  Research and development

Testing scale model of Oyster wave energy converter

Our R&D team's technical and research expertise allows us to continually refine and improve the design of our Oyster wave energy device.  Our team is also developing innovative new technologies to increase Aquamarine Power's intellectual property portfolio.

Our R&D team's research is primarily focused on increasing our understanding of how our Oyster wave energy device interacts with waves.  The team achieves this through tank testing and computational modelling which continually improves our hydrodynamic knowledge.  This allows us to accurately predict how Oyster will perform in the coastal environment.  We can then optimise Oyster's efficiency, reliability and cost-effectiveness.

Physical model testing

Our research engineers have conducted extensive physical model testing of Oyster at 40th and 25th scale in the world-class tank testing facilities at Queen's University, Belfast.  Data from these experiments feeds into computational models that enable us to continually improve Oyster's efficiency and effectiveness in the water. In addition to testing at scale, we equip our full-scale prototype Oyster devices with multiple sensors and monitoring equipment which allows us to gather actual performance data.

The R&D team

Our research team is led by R&D Manager Dr Joseph van 't Hoff who has an academic background in Computational Physics and received a Ph.D. in Hydrodynamics from the School of Civil Engineering in Queen's University Belfast. He is responsible for the development of the coupled model of the Oyster WEC and its Power Take-Off system, developing novel analysis techniques and solutions and advancing the Oyster technology.

The team has primary degrees in physics, mathematics and engineering and PhDs in marine energy, non-linear wave theory, fluid dynamics, electrical engineering and astrophysics.

Industry-leading partnership

Our in-house research and development team works alongside the specialist marine energy research team at Queen's University, Belfast, with whom we have a long-standing research partnership.  The team at Belfast is led by one of our technical advisors Trevor Whittaker, Professor of Coastal Engineering. Trevor is a recognised leader in the field of wave energy.  Wave energy pioneers Professor Stephen Salter and Allan Thomson are also technical advisors to our team.