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P10101291 A head in wave energy P10101291
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To the west of Scotland on the island of Islay's wild and rocky coast lies the Limpet - the world's first grid connected commercial scale wave energy plant. Commissioned in November 2000, Voith Hydro Wavegen's Limpet has an inclined oscillating water column (OWC) that couples with the surge-dominated wave field adjacent to the shore. The water column compresses air to feed two turbines, each of which drives a 250kW generator, giving a nameplate rating of 500kW.

As well as supplying green electricity to the grid, the plant is also used as a full scale test bed for the development of new turbines.

Atop a slender mast, for the past two years a single MAD Topper pan and tilt and Mitre environmental housing has stood alongside the installation. Put there by process and hazardous environment CCTV specialists, Systechnica, the system is used to observe and record the magnitude and frequency of the waves.

MAD heads and housings are weatherproof and maintenance free, which is just as well as the Topper and Mitre shown here are constantly drenched in salt water spray and sometimes inundated by large, powerful waves.

Systechnica's Brian McNeill says, "As well as fulfilling the important task of wave observation for Wavegen, as specialists in CCTV for process and hazardous environments, we're also monitoring the MAD products themselves to see how they stand up in such demanding, corrosive conditions."

So how are they doing after two years, Brian? "Absolutely fine."

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