Edinburgh green power pioneer unveils giant wave energy prototype ahead of Orkney trials

An Edinburgh-based green power pioneer has achieved a “significant milestone” after unveiling its huge wave energy prototype ahead of next month’s launch into Scottish waters.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 12:52 pm

Mocean Energy’s Blue X wave machine, which stretches to 20 metres and weighs 38 tonnes, has been fabricated wholly in Scotland and will be deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre’s Scapa Flow test site in Orkney for initial sea trials. It is due to be deployed at EMEC’s large scale Billia Croo test site this summer.

Next year, the firm plans to connect the device to a subsea battery which will be used to power a remotely operated autonomous underwater vehicle.

The distinctive yellow wave machine was unveiled at a ceremony at Forth Port’s Rosyth facility by Wave Energy Scotland (WES) managing director Tim Hurst.

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Mocean Energy’s Blue X wave machine, which stretches to 20 metres and weighs 38 tonnes, has been fabricated in Scotland.

The manufacture and testing programme is being supported by £3.3 million from WES through its Novel Wave Energy Converter programme.

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 build of the prototype. The focus is now on commissioning and the learning to be gained from the open water test campaign.”

He added: “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 device will now undergo ballasting and wet testing at Rosyth before being transported to Orkney.

Mocean Energy managing director Cameron McNatt said: “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.”

Last month, the firm announced a £1.6 million project with the Oil & Gas Technology Centre (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.

McNatt added: “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 autonomous underwater vehicle 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.”

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