Photo: Illustration/Mocean Energy’s Blue X in operation at EMEC (Photo by Colin Keldie)

Mocean Energy kicks off Blue X sea trials at EMEC

Scottish company Mocean Energy has started testing its Blue X wave energy prototype at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

Photo showing Mocean Energy’s Blue X in operation at EMEC (Photo by Colin Keldie)
Mocean Energy’s Blue X in operation at EMEC (Photo by Colin Keldie)

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.

Cameron McNatt, Mocean Energy’s managing director, 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”.

According to McNatt, during the Scapa testing phase, Mocean Energy will test power production, and compare results against the numerical predictions, while also testing operations including towing, installation, removal, and access at sea.

The device is standalone and operated wirelessly, with 4G connection enabled for sending commands and downloading 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”, McNatt concluded

Next year, Mocean Energy plans 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.

Tim Hurst, managing director of Wave Energy Scotland, said: “This test programme coincides with the real prospect of a UK market support mechanism for marine energy, which could enable Britain’s wave and tidal sector to take a global lead at a time when the whole world is seeking new ways to create a net zero future.

“This is technology developed right here in Scotland, supported by a mature UK supply chain that can exploit the huge global market potential for wave energy and bring significant economic benefits”.

To remind, EMEC launched a consultation process for stakeholders and the members of public on a decommissioning programme for Blue X as part of the mandatory consenting process. The consultation closes on June 14.

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