The Islay Wave Power Station will provide 0.5MW of electricity for the island of Islay’s grid – enough to power around 500 homes. Known as LIMPET 500 (Land Installed Marine Powered Energy Transformer), it was designed and build by Wavegen and Queen’s University, Belfast, with funding from the EU.
Without getting into the technical details, waves enter a concrete capture chamber which is set into an excavated rock face on the island. As water enters and leaves the chamber with the arrival of each new wave, the pressure of the air within the chamber increases and decreases. It is this oscillation of the air pressure within the chamber which draws air in or pushes air out of the chamber passing through the turbine. Whether air is being forced through the turbine, or drawn back into the chamber through the turbine, electricity is generated.