ORECon buoyed up for success

by Business Case Studies on Monday 31st March, 2008

ORECon buoyed up for success

In September 2007, the UK government gave planning approval for the world's first large-scale wave farm off the coast of Cornwall in south west England. The government's £28 million groundbreaking renewable energy project aims to site a Wave Hub off the coast of south west England (Wave Hub Website).

ORECon, the wave energy company formed out of research at Plymouth University six years ago, has attracted £12 million of venture-capital funding. It plans to build a 40 metres wide steel buoy which will be tethered four miles from the Cornish shore. Bobbing on the waves, the structure is expected to generate 1.5 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 1,000 homes. (The Sunday Times, 2 March 2008).

In 2001 ORECon's founding directors used a scale demonstration buoy as part of their academic research. Data from this demonstration device led to the tank testing of a multi chamber mode. This in turn has allowed ORECon to develop the process, which will result in a blueprint for the offshore facility by 2010. (ORECon Website)

The company is hoping to plug into the government's Wave Hub (a giant electrical socket on the seabed) which will feed the electricity produced into the national grid. The government hopes that investment in renewable energy will boost the south-west economy. (The Sunday Times, 2 March 2008)

David Crisp, ORECon's Chief Executive said: 'I have seen a lot of Heath Robinson ideas which are not going to survive out there. ORECon is different.' (The Sunday Times, 2 March 2008)

With the rapid growth in world populations and developing economies, there will be increasing demands upon limited resources. Renewable power and sustainable agriculture are both possible solutions.

See the Times 100 case study on Syngenta, which aims to achieve sustainable solutions in agriculture. At the centre of its approach is the use of science and technology. Research and development are vital for effective sustainability. They create knowledge and allow Syngenta to develop added-value products and services.

Sources:

The Sunday Times, 2 March 2008 (print edition)

The Times Online – Our buoys will rule the waves, say OreCon power pair, 2 March 2008

Wave Hub Project

ORECon – Making Wave Energy Work – A Commercial Reality

Wikipedia – Wave Power

Potential Study Questions:

  • Technology affects all aspects of business: Explain (a) what opportunities it may provide for companies and (b) how it may be a threat.
  • Organisations protect their new technology with patents. What is a patent? How does it protect new inventions?

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