Wave-energy technology developer Bombora has secured a seven-figure working-capital facility from the Development Bank of Wales; this will help it to manage its cash-flow over the next two years.
The award-winning company was established in Western Australia in 2012, before setting up its European headquarters at Pembroke Dock in South West Wales and bringing significant investment into the area.
It plans to use the Marine Energy Test Area off the coast of Pembrokeshire to demonstrate its innovative 1.5MW wave-energy converter, which sits on the sea-bed at least 10m below the surface, safe from the potential damaging effects of storms and strong waves.
Managing director Sam Leighton said: “There is a very strong marine-energy heritage here in Wales.
“Three of us moved over here from Australia at the end of 2017, and Bombora has created new skilled jobs, growing the team to 21 people. We’ve managed to assemble a very experienced team in marine energy and offshore operations, enabling us to get up and running very quickly.”
Bombora is backed by its Australian founders and early investors, and at the end of 2017 it received a major investment from Enzen, a global energy and environment company that has a base in Solihull.
Its wave-energy converter, called mWave, was conceived in 2007 and patented in 2012.
It is a modular system comprised of membranes in cells that rest on the sea-bed.
As pressure from the waves passes over the device, the membranes are pushed in, and air inside the cells is forced through a turbine, generating electricity.
It is a closed system, with the air returning to the cells before the next wave passes over.
Mr Leighton said: “One of the key challenges of wave-energy devices is that you get storms with large waves, and they can be very destructive.
“If you’re on the sea-bed, you’re protected from that.”
Bombora plans to place a full-scale demonstration model of mWave on the sea-bed for six months of testing early next year. Once the tests have been successfully completed, the company will be looking for opportunities to sell mWave to developers of wave farms.
The company is keen to maintain its presence in Wales, and it expects to recruit another 10 people by the end of the year.