University CrestThe Wave Power Group

Website latest updates by: Jamie Taylor 7th August 2008

14th March 2008: BBC 'Working Lunch' programme on Pelamis in Portugal


1974: The first duck. Stephen Salter on right
with David Jeffrey the co-founder of the wave
energy group.

The Wave Power Group dates back to 1974 - the year that Stephen Salter invented the 'duck' as a means of converting into electricity some of the abundant natural power that arrives as ocean waves on our western shores

1984: Robert Clerk surrounded by the designs for his 'trilink' machine which was being built at this time.

The development of the duck concept so that it might compete economically with conventional sources of energy required several new technologies. Above all, there was a need for very high efficiency high-pressure bi-directional oil hydraulic transmissions that could implement the advanced control algorithms required to get the most energy out of waves. With the arrival of Robert Clerk and his ground breaking designs, we started in the early 1980s to develop a new generation of high performance hydraulic machines. Building on that experience, a new company called Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd. was founded by Win Rampen in 1994 to develop the next generation of hydraulic machine. We call this new technology 'digital hydraulics'. The wave energy group and Artemis work closely together.

From the beginning, wave energy research also needed a new generation of test tanks. We were advised by the leading wave mathematicians that maintaining a very strong emphasis on the tank testing of models would be essential for the understanding and optimisation of wave energy devices.
Concurrently with the conception of his duck Stephen Salter had developed his first 'absorbing wave maker'. This became the foundation of our accurate and highly repeatable narrow tank work and led in late 1977 to the ground-breaking 'wide tank'. In 2001 we had to dismantle the wide tank, as the site was required for a very long delayed building project. We've now replaced it with the exciting new curved wave tank. Our wavemaking expertise has been commercially developed by our colleagues in Edinburgh Designs Ltd. who are world leaders in wavemaking and tank building. They have built the new tank.


1975: Control bench for the old narrow tank. Real time multi-axis analogue control - the best thing for optimising a wave energy device.

1978: Duck model on the surging heaving rig meets 50 year wave. As good as it gets in a narrow tank.

1983: Chris Retzler and Andy Knox flying the spine model in the wide tank. Computers had taken over.

Current Personnel

Prof Stephen Salter Professor of Engineering Design
Dr Win Rampen Honorary Research Fellow
Jamie Taylor Senior Research Fellow
Dr. Penny Parkin Research Fellow - Wave Energy
Craig Low Research Associate
Gregory Payne PhD Student - Wave Energy


thumb.jpg (5926 bytes)
Last known photo of the Wave Group, June 1997. One of these days we'll get round to taking another snap.

Some of our projects

As well as working on wave energy, the group have always been active in other areas. The common thread in our activities is engineering design and the heart of our group has always been our workshop. Most past and present members of the group have spent many happy hours there.

We're planning to put lots more of our current and historic material and photos on this web site. In the meantime, here are some of our current or recent projects:

You can also follow our work by clicking on these clips from our recent 'Power for Change' video.
(If you think that you would like a VHS copy of this video please contact )

 MPEG video
with commentary

56 Kbps

  225 Kbps

The Duck
Intelligent Power
The Dervish
The Wide Tank
A Variable Pitch Air Turbine
Bladders and Seals
The Sloped IPS Buoy
Towing Trials
Ship Capsize
Blade Damper
Water Bags



Looking for a general introduction to wave energy?

A very good start is Chapter 8 ('Wave Energy') by Les Ducker in the Open University book: 'Renewable Energy - power for a sustainable future', Editor: Godfrey Boyle, Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-19-856451-1. Although several major projects have started up since then, this remains a very good introduction to the subject.

An older but more detailed treatment of the fundamentals is in Chapter 12 of the excellent 'Renewable Energy Resources', by John Twidell and Tony Weir, Spon, 1985, ISBN 0-419-12010-6. This link is to the new 2002 edition which we haven' t had a look at yet.

You may want to know more about waves - how they're generated by wind, how they're measured, what happens in shallow water, how they're forecast, how their directional properties are assessed. There is a wonderful but hard to get hold of book: 'Waves in Ocean Engineering', M.J.Tucker & E.G. Pitt, Elsevier, 2001, ISBN 0-08-043566-1. Tucker started working with waves in 1944 and spent six years writing this book after retiring from the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences. This second edition of the book has been substantially revised by his colleague Ted Pitt. The book covers most aspects of waves with mathematical treatments that are accessible to the interested reader, but there is also a lot of contextual information about the recent post-war history of wave measurements and analysis which makes it a most enjoyable read.

A classic journalistic account by an author who has followed developments from the beginning is: 'Power from the Waves', David Ross, Oxford University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-19-856511-9

At a higher and more mathematical level there is a very good new text by a long established and well respected Norwegian wave energy expert:'Ocean Waves and Oscillating Systems', Johannes Falnes, Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-521-78211-2



A very good way to find out more about recent wave energy activities in the Europe and the rest of the world is by getting hold of the proceedings of recent conferences:

MAREC 2001 International Conference on Marine Renewable Energies, March 2001, organised by the Institute of Marine Engineers, Proceedings: IMarE Conference, Volume 113, 1. ISBN: 1-902536-43-6

Fourth European Wave Energy Conference 2000, 4th-6th December, Aalborg Denmark. Proceedings published by Energy Centre Denmark, Danish Technological Institute, DK-2630 Tastrup,, ISBN 87-90074-09-2

Third European Wave Energy Conference 1998, sponsored by the European Commision, 30th September - 2nd October 1998, Patras Greece, proceedings pubslished by Dr-Ing. Wilhelm Dursthoff, University of Hannover, Germany

The Second European Wave Power Conference, sponsored by the European Commision - conference code: EUR 16932, 8th - 10th November 1995, Lisbon. Proceedings published 1996: ISBN 92-827-7492-9

1993 European Wave Energy Symposium, 21st-24th July 1993, Edinburgh. Organised by NEL. Proceedings published by European Commission EUR 15571 EN, ISBN 0-903640-84-8.

Useful wave & tidal power links

latest link: 7th April 2008
Checkmate Seaenergy (UK: Anaconda device)

Universities, National and Government sites

Australian Renewables including Wave Energy 
Caddet renewable energy website
Danish Wave Energy
DTI (UK Dept of Trade & Industry) wave and tidal publications
Electricity Innovation Institute (┤E2I┤ USA offshore wave power feasability demonstration)

EPRI - Electric Power Research Institute, USA (inc. reports on Maine, Oregon etc)
European Commission 'Thermie' wave energy site
European Cantre for Information on Marine Science and Technology (eurOcean)
European Marine Energy Centre, Orkney (test centre for marine energy)
European Wave Energy Research Network (EWERN) 

European Wave Energy Thematic Network
International Energy Agency Ocean Energy Systems (IEA-OES)
Japan Marine Science & Technology Center, JAMSTEC 
Norwegian Wave Energy Site
Open University, UK

RESTATS (DTI Renewable Energy statistics)

Scottish Executive - Renewable Energy

University of Delaware - The Coastal Engineering Page

Wave Energy Centre - Portugal
Wavetrain Research Training Network


Device Developers and Data Providers

(see also the comprehensive EMEC list)

Applied Technologies Company Ltd (Moscow)
AquaEnergy Group Ltd (USA)
AquaMarine Power Ltd (Scotland)
Archimedes Wave Swing (Netherland & Scotland)
AW-Energy Oy WaveRoller (Finland)
AWS Ocean Energy Ltd

Brandl Motor (Germany)
British Oceanographic Data Centre

Checkmate Seaenergy (UK: Anaconda device)
C-Wave Ltd (Southampton)

Daedalus Informatics Greece: Hybrid wave and wind system
Delbuoy (USA, wave powered desalination)

EMU Consult, Denmark (Wave Dragon)
Energetech Australia Pty Ltd (includes Denniss-Auld Turbine)
The Engineering Business Ltd (Stingray tidal stream device)
Evelop, Netherlands (Wave Rotor)

Floating Wave Powered Generator (USA)
Fred Olson wave power device (Norway)

the Generic Wave Energy Device - GWED (Scotland)
Aaron Sargent Goldin - Autonomous Gyroscopic Ocean Wave-Powered Generator

Hydam Technology Ltd (McCabe Wave Pump)
Hydrohelix Energies (French tidal device)
HydroVenturi (Tidal stream & low head hydro device)

Interproject Service AB (IPS OWEC Buoy)

Manchester Bobber (UK)
Marine Current Turbines Ltd

New Energy Corporation Inc, Canada (Vertical-axis turbine)

Ocean Motion International (USA)
Oceanor, Norway (Wave data)
Ocean Power Delivery Ltd., Scotland (Pelamis) 
Ocean Power Technologies, USA
Ocean Prospect, UK (wave farm developers)
Ocean Wave Energy Company, USA
Ocean WaveMaster Limited UK
Offshore Wave Energy Ltd (Air Compressing device)
Open Hydro (Tidal current generator)

OREG, Canada (Ocean Renewable Energy Group)

Ryokuseisha Corporation (Japanese wave activated buoy)

Seapower Pacific
Sea Power International AB, Sweden
SeaVolt Technologies, USA (Wave Rider)
SeWave Ltd, Faroe Islands
SEEWEC Consortium ("FO3" device, previously known as "Buldra")
SMD Hydrovision (TideEl tidal stream generator)
Strom AS (Tidal Stream generator at Hammerfest in Norway)
SyncWave Energy Inc. Canada

Tidal Electric (Swansea Bay Project)
Tidal Generation Limited
Tocardo BV Tidal Energy (Netherlands & Scotland)
Trotman Unit - Inshore Wave Power (Scotland)

Verdant Power (tidal current demonstration in NYC)

Waveberg Development Limited (USA)
Wave Dragon ApS (Danish)
Wavegen, Scotland (Limpet)  
WAVEenergy (Norway)
WaveBlanket (USA)
Wave Energy Technology - New Zealand (WET-NZ)
Wavemill Energy Corporation (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia)
Wave Star Energy (Denmark)

Networks, Lobbying, Promotional & Trade Organisations

British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) Marine
Coordination Action on Ocean Energy (Europe)
Practical Ocean Energy Management Systems (US)
Renewable Power Association (UK)
Seapower - Marine Renewable Energy Association (UK)
Scottish Coastal Forum
Scottish Energy Environment Foundation
Scottish Renewables Forum

National Review documents

A brief review of Wave Energy (UK Dept of Trade & Industry, May 1999)
Options for the development of wave energy in Ireland (SEI, Nov 2002)

Wave Resource Analysis tools & Software

Atlas of UK Marine Renewable Energy Resources (UK DTI)
DIWASP - DIrectional WAve SPectra Toolbox for Matlab
FUNWAVE - phase-resoving, time-stepping ...model for ... wave ... nearshore
KNMI/ERA-40 Wave Atlas (Global wave climatology atlas - Netherlands)
Marine Institute (Ireland) - Irish Wave Energy Atlas
Max Wave Project (European project - last update 2003)
World Wave Atlas 

Other Links

Edinburgh Designs Ltd (Test tanks and absorbing wave maker systems)
Johannes Spinneken water surface following wave gauge
Lab Oceano - new Ocean Basin in Rio de Janeiro
McGraw-Hill Higher Education virtual wave tank
NAUSICA─ - French National Sea Experience Center
Suntory Mermaid II (Japanese wave powered boat)
Tidal Power News (USA)
Water Waves - Interactive introduction by Dave Richieson and Tom Edgar


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