Dr Yemm began forming the idea for the wave energy converter while studying for a PhD at the University of Edinburgh.
Under his leadership, Pelamis achieved the first grid electricity from offshore waves, Scotland's first export order for wave energy technology and the UK's only sales for wave energy converters to utilities firms E.ON and ScottishPower Renewables.
Alex Salmond said: "I am delighted to present Richard Yemm with the Saltire Prize Medal, an accolade which he richly deserves for his tireless commitment to the development of wave energy generation.
"Since forming the initial concept of the Pelamis wave energy converter and establishing the company in 1998, Richard has driven forward the technical and commercial development of Pelamis Wave Power which now boasts major international utilities E.ON, ScottishPower and Vattenfall among its customers.
Accepting the medal, Dr Yemm said: "It is a huge honour to be presented with this prestigious award which I am delighted to accept on behalf of all who have worked tirelessly alongside me over the years to deliver on this once-in-a-generation opportunity for Scottish engineering and industry."