Wasp (Cumbria) Limited

‌Wasp (Cumbria) Limited, based in Barrow-in-Furness, was created to develop an innovative sustainable renewable energy idea, for which they have filed a patent. In addition, they looked at other environmental projects, such as ‘oil spill recovery’, and where value engineering could have a positive effect on new and existing systems.

The Challenge

Wasp (Cumbria) Limited wanted to develop an innovative tidal and wave energy device, and approached the Lancaster University Renewable Energy Group (LUREG) for help. Lancaster University Renewable Energy Group, based in the Engineering Department, researches conversion of energy from water sources, including waves and tides of the sea, and land-based hydropower. Aspects of renewable energy production, such as system condition monitoring and economics, also form active research themes.

Skills Sought

  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Small-scale model testing

The Solution

A group of eight MEng students from the Engineering Department worked with the local wind, and tidal power company WASP (Cumbria) Limited to develop and test a prototype tidal turbine under the supervision of Dr Stephen Quayle of the Lancaster University Renewable Energy Group. The team completed the design and manufacture of the flotation platform, power-take-off system, and the associated control and instrumentation. Small-scale model testing was also finished in the Engineering Department’s water flume.

The team undertook this work as part of their fourth-year group project. All MEng students at Lancaster University's Engineering Department complete an extended group project in collaboration with industry, which allows them to apply their skills and create solutions to real-life business problems.


Grant Aid funded the project from the ‘Innovation in Business’ scheme.


The turbine was launched in Walney Channel in June 2013. WASP (Cumbria) Limited now has a proven floatation unit, which by design is not only portable but can be easily adapted to suit a range of turbine designs, and as such will be invaluable as they move forward.

Benefits to the company

  • Development of a large scale prototype turbine
  • Technical knowledge and expertise of Lancaster University Engineering Department students
  • Saved the company time
  • Facilities for testing the turbine

Benefits to the university

  • Applied understanding of tidal and wave energy devices

Company Feedback

“The assistance of the students enabled the development of a larger scale prototype to move forward far quicker than WASP could have achieved without the assistance. Also, areas that would have proved extremely difficult for WASP to resolve have been completed by the team with specifications, design and detail drawings enabling the order of components necessary for the trials. The students’ enthusiasm, confidence and teamwork throughout the design, manufacture and trials was a major factor in the project’s development.” Alan Newton, C.Eng. MRINA, Managing Director and Founder, Wasp (Cumbria) Limited.

Future Plans

Developments and improvements are ongoing, along with several small scale prototype projects on a tidal range system, and alternative turbine design idea.