AquamarinepowerProfessor Trevor Whittaker, the inventor of Aquamarine Power's Oyster wave energy technology, has been given the prestigious post of Acting Head of the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering (SPACE) at Queen's University Belfast.

The new position, for six months initially, puts Whittaker, who is Professor of Coastal Engineering, in charge of leading research and teaching in architecture, planning and civil engineering – with overall responsibility for 69 academic staff, 20 support staff, 4 research clusters, 11 undergraduate and 10 post graduate programmes, around 900 students and an annual turnover of £11.5 million.

He is currently Director of The Environmental Engineering Research Centre within SPACE.

Welcoming the announcement, Aquamarine Power Chief Executive Officer Martin McAdam said:

"This is a tremendous accolade for Trevor. His name is synonymous with wave energy. He was one of the pioneers in the design and installation of the Limpet, the UK's first grid-connected wave power plant on the Isle of Islay in the 1980s. In the 1970s he worked with the late Professor Allan Wells on the design and delivery of the first Wells turbine.

"Trevor is a global expert in wave energy and has supervised over 20 PhDs in wave power. It was his research into the most reliable and cost-effective wave technologies which led to the design of the Oyster, and in 2005 he teamed up with entrepreneur Allan Thomson – the winner of this year's Saltire Prize Medal – to establish Aquamarine Power.

"Aquamarine Power is very fortunate to be able to draw on his enormous expertise and he will continue to be technical advisor to our research and development team based at Queen's.

"Trevor is a tremendous leader and a true pioneer in wave energy. He will make a significant impact as Queen's University's new Head of SPACE and we congratulate him in his new role."

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