Mocean Energy has unveiled its Blue X wave energy prototype, which will take to the seas in Orkney, Scotland, next month.
The 20-m-long, 38-tonne wave machine was fabricated in Scotland and will be deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre’s Scapa Flow test site for sea trials and then later deployed at EMEC’s large-scale Billia Croo test site this summer.
Next year, Mocean Energy plans to connect the device to a subsea battery, which will be used to power a remotely operated autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).
The manufacture and testing program is supported by £3.3 million (US$5 million) from Wave Energy Scotland (WES) through its Novel Wave Energy Converter program.
“This is a significant milestone for Mocean Energy and for WES,” said WES Managing Director Tim Hurst. “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. 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 Blue X will undergo ballasting and wet testing at Rosyth before being transported to Orkney.
“As we drive toward net zero, we will need many forms of renewable energy and wave energy can make a significant contribution,” said Mocean Energy Managing Director Cameron McNatt. “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.”
Last month, Mocean Energy announced a £1.6 million (US$2.2 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.
“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,” McNatt says. “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”.