Wave energy company Aquamarine Power has lined up with several other leading marine energy developers to vie for the £10m Saltire Prize – the Scottish Government’s global ocean energy challenge.

The Saltire Prize ‘Grand Challenge’ period, during which competitors must produce commercial quantities of electricity from the sea, was launched officially by Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Orkney today .

Aquamarine Power will use their Oyster technology to compete for the prize – the largest clean-tech innovation award of its kind in the world.

The Edinburgh based wave pioneers are currently testing the Oyster 800, their second full-scale device, at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

Commenting on the launch of the ‘Grand Challenge’, Aquamarine Power Chief Executive Officer Martin McAdam said:

“Producing clean energy from our oceans is one of the world’s greatest technological challenges – and the £10 million Saltire Prize reflects the scale of that challenge. The Saltire Prize will act as global catalyst, galvanising the interest of innovators, entrepreneurs, governments and philanthropists from around the world – bringing together the best brains and financial muscle to crack one of the great challenges of our age.

“There is a long tradition of global challenges, from the Orteig Prize nearly a century ago to the X Prize Foundation today. They are remembered not for the value of the prize on offer, but for the legacy they can bring to the world.”

The Oyster is a simple hinged flap, attached to the seabed which moves back and forth in the near-shore waves to pump high pressure water to an onshore hydroelectric turbine.

The company has two commercial development sites, a 200MW area off the west coast of Orkney and a 40MW site off the Isle of Lewis, where the company plans to build commercial wave farms.