Mocean Energy Starts Tank Testing Models for 250kW Wave Energy Machine

Credit: Mocean Energy
Credit: Mocean Energy

Mocean Energy has started tank testing models of its 250kW Blue Horizon wave energy machine as part of the EU-funded EuropeWave program.

The Edinburgh-based wave power company is of seven technology developers awarded contracts for phase 1 of the €20 million R&D scheme, which will ultimately see three prototype technologies tested at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney and the Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP) in Spain.

The eight-day development program is taking place at the FloWave test facility at the University of Edinburgh, which is able to generate representative sea states for both sites.

Blue Horizon is a mid-scale wave energy machine designed to deliver grid power to remote and island communities.

“The purpose of our testing is to validate our numerical models and the hydrodynamic performance of our 250kW design,” explains Chris Retzler, Founder and Chief Scientist at Mocean Energy.

“We already have a huge amount of real-world data from our 10kW Blue X prototype which was deployed successfully at EMEC last year. This is now being developed into our commercial 20kW Blue Star device which will provide autonomous power to a range of subsea equipment, inspection, and maintenance systems.

“The 250kW Blue Horizon is a much bigger machine. It will be 2.5 times the length of Blue X but will generate 25 times the power.

“This test program is enabling us to take what we know already and further refine and validate our numerical models, looking specifically at optimum power production and survivability of the Blue Horizon in the actual sea states it could experience at BiMEP or EMEC,” Retzler explains.

The wave firm is using bespoke 25th and 50th scale models of the Blue Horizon created by FloWave using an advanced 3D printer. 

“There is no facility better suited to our requirements and the test and validation program is going well,” Retzler ends.

EuropeWave is an R&D program for wave energy technology that has adopted a pre-commercial procurement model similar to the one pioneered by Wave Energy Scotland. It combines around €20 million in national, regional, and EU funding and is a collaboration between Wave Energy Scotland, the Basque Energy Agency, and Ocean Energy Europe.

The program has a three-phase stage-gate approach comprising:

  • Phase1: Concept development
  • Phase 2: Front end engineering and detailed design
  • Phase 3: Open-sea deployment and testing program

 After each phase, evaluations will be carried out to progressively select the best of the competing solutions. The wave energy technology developers with the best-value-for-money solutions will be offered a call-off contract for the next phase, under the framework agreement.

The final phase of EuropeWave will see three different technologies undergo testing in real sea conditions off the coasts of the Basque Country and Scotland in 2025.

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