Wave power company Mocean Energy has unveiled its Blue X wave energy prototype for undersea operations.
The firm says that the technology will undergo sea trials in Orkney next month, with future hopes for use in offshore operations.
Built entirely in Scotland, the 20-metre long, 38-tonne wave machine will initially be deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre’s Scapa Flow test site for the trials, with plans for deployment at EMEC’s large scale Billia Croo test site this summer.
Mocean Energy plans to connect the device to a subsea battery next year which will be used to power a remotely operated autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).
The manufacture and testing programme is supported by £3.3 million from Wave Energy Scotland (WES) through their Novel Wave Energy Converter programme.
Commenting on the announcement, Director at Mocean Energy, Tim Hurst, said: “This is a significant milestone for Mocean Energy and for WES.
“The product of five years of the WES programme and three phases of development for the Mocean technology that has seen the Blue X progress from concept, through wave tank testing and now to a scaled, real sea demonstrator.
“Against the backdrop of Covid 19 restrictions Mocean Energy and their subcontractors have completed the build of the prototype. The focus is now on commissioning and the learning to be gained from the open water test campaign.
“This demonstration of credible wave technology comes at a time when there is a real prospect of a market support mechanism for marine energy, that taken together, will enable wave energy to make a significant contribution to the future Scottish and UK low carbon energy mix needed to meet our net-zero obligations.”
The company announced that the Blue X prototype will now undergo “ballasting and wet testing” at Rosyth before being transported to Orkney.
Mocean Energy Managing Director Cameron McNatt commented: “As we drive toward net zero, we will need many forms of renewable energy and wave energy can make a significant contribution.
“Our test programme in Orkney will allow us to prove our concept at sea, particularly that its novel hull shapes will produce more power than traditional raft designs. This enables the development of commercial-scale technologies suited to the oil and gas and other industries.”
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Last month Mocean Energy announced a £1.6 million project with OGTC, oil major Chrysaor (now newly formed Harbour Energy) and subsea specialists EC-OG and Modus to demonstrate the potential of the Blue X prototype to power a subsea battery and a remote underwater vehicle – using onshore testing at EC-OG’s Aberdeen facility.
McNatt continued: “We have a number of months in the summer to put the Blue X through sea trails and in parallel test the subsea equipment at EC-OG’s home base. Next year we intend to ship the battery and AUV to Orkney and pair them up with Blue X at sea.
“We are extremely fortunate to have the backing of Wave Energy Scotland, OGTC and our industry partners in this programme.
“They bring an extraordinary amount of knowledge and experience which we can draw on to accelerate our technology development ambitions.”
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