Aquamarine Power has appointed Dr Paddy O'Kane as the company's CEO, replacing interim CEO John Malcolm who has stepped down after six months in the role.
O'Kane has been Aquamarine Power's chief technical officer since 2010. Prior to this he was head of engineering and wind resource assessment at SSE Renewables, with responsibility for the technical design and specification of almost £3 billion of renewable projects.
Commenting on his appointment, Paddy O'Kane said: "As world energy consumption continues its upward trend, now is a great time to create new forms of renewable energy. We are doing just that with our ground-breaking Oyster wave energy converter technology. Our aim has always been to demonstrate its survivability, performance and reliability and ultimately to prove that it can compete commercially with other forms of generation.
"Oyster 800 has now survived at sea for three full years, including major storms. We now have very good data demonstrating that Oyster 800 performs as well as, if not better than, original model predictions. This gives us tremendous confidence in the Oyster concept.
"We are now focussed on improving the reliability and cost of the Oyster system. This involves the development of the next-generation Oyster and critical sub-systems, with a major focus on WavePOD, a pan-industry power take off system we are developing in conjunction with Bosch Rexroth, Carnegie Wave Energy and others.
"We believe WavePOD offers an opportunity for the whole industry to get behind an enabling technology which has potential to radically improve reliability and deliver long term reductions in the cost of wave energy. We have now completed the first phase of onshore laboratory testing where the WavePOD test unit has performed flawlessly."
O'Kane, who is a board member of the Brussels-based trade body Ocean Energy Europe, believes future funding will be key.
"The industry now has a very clear understanding of the scale of challenge and opportunity in extracting energy from waves, and policy-makers recognize the need for a long-term collaborative approach which pools expertise and scarce funding from across Europe in order to overcome shared technical obstacles."
His comments follow a recent supply chain report by BVG Associates which shows that the wave and tidal industries now have most elements of the supply chain in place, except for the wave energy converters themselves, suggesting that more funding be directed to support device development.
Commenting on the new appointment, Aquamarine Power Chairman Paul Capell said: "As the wave industry takes stock and considers the next phase of development it is vital that the sector builds on the successes and experience we have already gained.
"Paddy combines a tremendous track record of academic and technical expertise with real experience of the challenges in making full-scale machines and sub-systems which can work and survive in all sea conditions.
"This experience, together with Paddy's proven leadership qualities, will be a superb asset for Aquamarine Power and the industry more generally as it continues to evolve.
"I would also like to express my sincere thanks to our interim CEO John Malcolm who took the helm at a critical point for Aquamarine Power and successfully steered the business through unchartered waters. Aquamarine Power is now in a good position and in very good hands to continue the development of Oyster and WavePOD."
Paddy O'Kane started his career with Du Pont and has held a number of senior engineering and consultancy posts. He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland. He has a 1st class honors degree and PhD in electrical engineering from The Queen's University, Belfast. His PhD analyzed and quantified the system benefits of utilizing sources of embedded generation within a national power system.