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huge problems of making a commercially viable energy device. Searaser has seven patents on it, covering many simple and not so simple pieces of technology, including the fact that the device uses salt water and seaweed as lubricants. Alvin and Nigel were then joined by Geoff White


and Steve Price as investors. Together they have all put in £300,000 into the company to develop the various prototypes. They received great support from Sir Geoffrey Newman, owner of Blackpool Sands, who allowed them to conduct tests off the tourist attraction.


But going was not straightforward.


As Alvin worked away solving the technical issues which would allow them to have the best device pos- sible, the team found little support for their idea. Ed Milliband, then Energy Secretary, said that there was ‘no downside’ to the Searaser system – but the Government then failed to give any funding to the proj- ect. ‘We had no support from anyone in Government,’ says Alvin. ‘We’ve come through so many challenges in this journey. All the time, despite the money and all those worries, the main concern for me was losing the idea – losing this amazing idea which I knew would work.’


Despite it all, Alvin never stopped developing the product and did all the testing in the River Dart or the sea nearby. They have ended up with a device which is now simpler than the first prototype and more efficient. But there was still no additional investment and the money was running out. ‘We were in death valley, having gone for three years with no extra money coming in,’ says Alvin with the wry smile of someone who has come right to the edge and come out a winner. ‘We set a date of November 30th 2011 as the end – if we had not secured extra support we would let it go.’ On December 6th


Dale Vince, founder and owner of


Ecotricity, offered the company investment support for a share of the company. They are now going to build the half size 12 metre piston stroke final prototype which


will be tested in the sea off Falmouth, the site of the new South West Marine Energy Park. If that proves a success then a full size one will be built – with a wave float of 7.5 metres diameter.


The basic concept of Searaser is one of those ideas so simple that one wonders how it hadn’t been invented before


It was light at the end of a very long tunnel for Alvin, Nigel, Steve and Jeff.


‘Dale is a very special man and he has come in to support us,’ said Alvin. ‘We can now move on, develop this final stage and then get it into production. It’s amazing how simple and effec- tive it is – 11,000 of these could


power the domestic needs of the UK – that averages around two per kilometre of the entire British coastline and cheaper than the cost of Nuclear.’ Alvin paid tribute to the support he has received in the town since starting work on his idea. ‘There’s no doubt that the people here are more posi- tive and supportive than any I’ve met elsewhere,’ he says, as he looks over Warfleet Creek, clearly grateful for the way his adopted town has welcomed him, his Norwegian wife Liv and his idea for Searaser. ‘You can be here and be an entrepreneur. We will try and make sure that we bring as much as we can here to the South Hams and bring money here to help the local economy. This area has helped us to get this far – we hope the success continues.’•


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