In the last few days, Mocean Energy’s 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.
“This is a very exciting moment as we put our first prototype to test at sea” said Mocean Energy Managing Director Cameron McNatt. “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. I’d like to thank all of our local Orkney-based partners including EMEC, Leask Marine, Heddles, Orkney Harbour Authority and Orcades Marine for the help we have received to date. 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.
The deployment and demonstration of the Blue X at EMEC is being funded by Wave Energy Scotland and supported by Interreg North-West Europe’s Ocean DEMO project.
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.
Earlier this year 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.
The Blue X wave machine was fabricated in Scotland by Fife fabricator AJS Production and painted by Montrose-based Rybay Corrosion services. Numerous hardware and services were supplied by companies who have developed capabilities though the WES programme, including The University of Edinburgh who supplied their CGEN generator, Supply Design and Blackfish Engineering Design.
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