Future Energy

15 Jun 2021

Orkney Sea Trials Begin for Wave Energy Prototype

15 Jun 2021  by   

The prospect of generating clean energy from waves moved a step closer as Mocean Energy begins testing its Blue X wave energy prototype at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

Mocean Energy’s Managing Director Cameron McNatt with Mocean Energy's Blue X wave energy converter at Forth Ports’ Rosyth Docks.

In the last few days the 20-metre long, 38-tonne wave machine has been towed from Kirkwall to EMEC’s Scapa Flow test site where it has been successfully moored and commissioned for initial sea trials.

Later this summer the Blue X will be moved to EMEC’s grid connected wave test site at Billia Croo on the west coast of Orkney, where it will go through its paces in more rigorous full sea conditions.

Mocean Energy managing director Cameron McNatt said: “This is a very exciting moment as we put our first prototype to test at sea.

“In the days and weeks ahead, we will produce first power and prove how the Blue X machine operates in a variety of sea states.

“In the Scapa testing phase, we will test power production and compare results against our numerical predictions, and we will test operations including towing, installation, removal, and access at sea. The device is standalone and operated wirelessly. A 4G connection allows us to send commands and download data from shore.

“We believe our technology is ideally suited to a number of offshore operations, where it can make a direct contribution to net zero goals. Longer-term, we think grid-scale machines will be able to tap into deep ocean waves to generate significant quantities of clean energy.”

Next year, the wave pioneers plan to connect the device to a subsea battery which will be used to power a remotely operated autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) – with potential applications offshore.

Michael Matheson, the Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport, said: “With our abundant natural resources, expertise and forward-looking policy approach, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver our net zero economy, which is why the Scottish Government has long-supported marine energy and invested more than £40 million to date in the internationally-renowned Wave Energy Scotland programme.

“The deployment of Mocean Energy’s Blue X device is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in wave energy’s journey towards commercialisation. I congratulate Mocean Energy, Wave Energy Scotland, and everyone who has made this achievement possible.”

Neil Kermode, managing director at EMEC, congratulated Mocean Energy on the safe installation of the Blue X wave energy converter.

"This successful operation is the culmination of many weeks of hard work and planning by Mocean Energy, EMEC and Leask Marine," he continued.

"We’re now eager to see how it begins its work up in the initially gentle wave climate at Scapa prior to the next stage sea trials at Billia Croo.”

The Blue X manufacture and testing programme is being supported by £3.3 million from Wave Energy Scotland (WES) through their Novel Wave Energy Converter programme.

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