Mocean Energy said Monday it had started testing its Blue X wave energy prototype at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland, with the device currently generating power.
“In the last few days the 20-meter 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,” the company said.
Later this summer, the Blue X device will be relocated to EMEC's grid-connected wave test site at Billia Croo on Orkney's west coast, where it will be put through its paces in more demanding 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. Following successful installation on Friday, Blue X generated its first power and continued to generate power, charging batteries, throughout the weekend.
“In the Scapa testing phase, we will test power production, comparing 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.
He said the company believed its Blue-X 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,” he said.
Next year, the plan is 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 program is being supported by £3.3 million from Wave Energy Scotland (WES) through their Novel Wave Energy Converter program. Earlier this year Mocean Energy announced a £1.6 million project with OGTC, oil company 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.