Financial crisis for Orecon

Orecon CEO David Crisp
Orecon CEO David Crisp

Bodmin-based wave energy developer Orecon faces closure by the end of January if it cannot attract fresh investment.

That is the startling warning from CEO David Crisp today, despite the company having a place on the Wave Hub scheme, and recently having agreed a contract to supply three wave devices to a Portuguese shipyard.

Crisp said: “I thought that after years of struggling for funding we had weathered the worst that the financial markets could throw at us. I was wrong. Earlier this year our venture capital funders withdrew their support, ironically since then we have won through to the final round of the £22m MRPF grant scheme (worth up to £6m), Carbon Trust Ventures have given their support to match fund third party investors and our UK and US patents have been granted.

“We now find ourselves in urgent need of new investment. Whilst we recognise the difficult economic times it is vital that industry now steps up its involvement, there is a huge commercial opportunity here for someone willing to step in now. We have the design, the site, full government support and a crack team, but time is short. Without investment we will have to close the doors at the end of January.”

Orecon’s progress since it secured venture capital funding in February 2008 has been impressive, building a team of ten experienced marine engineers to continue the development of the technology to its current level.

The Multi Resonant Chamber (MRC) design is now complete and a shipyard has been selected to begin construction in the New Year. Orecon has secured a berth at the South West RDA’s Wave Hub facility enabling installation of the first MRC in 2011.

The MRC 1.5MW device uses Oscillating Water Column (OWC) principles and is recognised by utilities as showing true potential as a commercial scale device that is both simple and able to provide high yields and reliability.

Artist's impression of Orecon's MRC device
Artist's impression of Orecon's MRC device

“The market has enormous potential,” adds Crisp, “and if annual sales of £1 billion for the companies who can stay in the race is not tantalising enough there is the opportunity to be part of the solution to global warming, secure and sustainable power and job creation – the credentials of a third millennium company.”