Wave Energy Firm Wavebob Turns Heads at Green Machines Exhibition

The Irish wave energy firm Wavebob has been voted the most popular sustainability project at the Science Gallery Green Machines exhibition, which has attracted over 30,000 visitors including US Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu.

The show was unique in that visitors had the opportunity to virtually invest in 18 very different sustainable design projects they think are the most likely to help kick-start a green revolution. Over €5.4bn was invested in the projects, which included projects ranging from a bamboo bicycle, a toilet with a built-in sink, and home insulation made from fungus through to wave power generators and a wind turbine designed by Phillip Starck.

However, Wavebob came up trumps, with visitors to the Science Gallery virtually investing €695m (represented by 1390 half million coins) in the project.

Speaking at the presentation of the award today, Wavebob CEO Andrew Parish said: “This is a great honour for Wavebob – we have received awards in the past from the engineering profession and the renewable energy industry, but this is the first award that comes from individual energy consumers.

“The Green Machines exhibition was unique in providing a glimpse of the energy technologies of the future and a forum for consumers to select the technology they believe will transform energy production.”

In recognizing the amount of “virtual money” invested in Wavebob, Parish added that “as a company currently raising funds, the €695m of investment promised by the visitors to the Gallery, provides us with the confidence of closing a new investment in ‘the real world – if only it were that easy …!”

Science Gallery’s director Michael John Gorman added: “It’s great to see how innovation, creativity, and sustainable design can propose new solutions to the challenges facing us. As part of the exhibition, we wanted to give our visitors a real chance to think like eco-entrepreneurs and really interrogate what makes a good sustainable investment.

“By giving the visitor an investment pot of €5m Science Gallery currency and a unique ID, they’ve been able to track their investment throughout the run of the show, and we’re delighted by the response we’ve had from visitors, the companies and sponsors involved in the exhibition.”

Green Machines, which was sponsored by Dimplex and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland/ the Power of One, was officially launched by Energy Minister Eamon Ryan TD on 14 October. Since then over 30,000 people have visited the exhibition, which will run until 23 December at Science Gallery, TCD.

Wavebob wave energy convertor in action

Wave energy and Ireland

Back in September, Wavebob received more than $2.8m (€1.8m) from the US Department of Energy, as part of a contract to develop its wave energy converter (WEC) for 2013. Bord G is also announced at the time that it would invest a further €1.8m in the company.

Three years ago, the Wavebob became one of the first WECs in the world to successfully produce electricity from the ocean swell.

In 2009, Swedish power company Vattenfall announced a joint venture with Wavebob, with the duo forming Tonn Energy, an Irish wave-farm development aimed at commercializing the wave energy produced by the ocean around Ireland.