Burglary in UK raises questions on Chinese WEC design

Pelamis WEC (Photo: SPR)

The burglary at the offices of the Scottish wave energy developer, Pelamis Wave Power, which took place in 2011, has been put in focus again, after a similar wave energy device design appeared in China a few years later.

The unresolved break-in at Pelamis, which resulted in the theft of four laptops from the company, took place late in March 2011 – two months after the delegation of senior government officials from China visited the factory, The Guardian reports.

Suspicions on the connection between the officials’ visit and the burglary emerged at the same time as the photographs of the Hailong 1 wave energy device, which revealed a ‘remarkably similar’ project being developed in China, according to The Guardian.

“Some of the details may be different but they are clearly testing a Pelamis concept,” Max Carcas, former Business Development Director at Pelamis, said for The Guardian. “I could infer all sorts of things but I do not want to say.”

The Guardian further reports that the images from China show that the Hailong 1 device seems to have similar engineering features as those found in Pelamis WEC.

To remind, Pelamis Wave Power went into administration in November, 2014, after it failed to secure the funding required for further development of the company’s wave energy technology.

A series of questions to the Chinese government looking for more details about the origins of the Hailong 1 project have been sent by The Guardian, the British national daily newspaper said, but so far no replies have been received.

According to The Guardian, neither the UK nor Scottish governments plan to question China’s patent rights.

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