WES splashes £1.8M on quick connection systems for wave energy

Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has selected three companies to share nearly £1.8 million to demonstrate their quick connection systems which are expected to bring down the cost of wave energy.

Illustration/Apollo’s PALM connector (Courtesy of Apollo Offshore Engineering)
Illustration/Apollo’s PALM connector (Courtesy of Apollo Offshore Engineering)

The teams from Apollo Offshore Engineering, Blackfish Engineering Design, and Quoceant, secured the WES funding to conduct physical demonstrations of their quick connection systems.

The systems are said to allow for the connection and disconnection of wave devices from their mooring and power cables in a safe and efficient manner.

Apollo’s PALM connector uses a passive locking mechanism that provides the connection and load transfer between the wave energy convertor (WEC) and its moorings. This function is purely mechanical and requires only the input of a suitable deck winch on the installation vessel.

Blackfish Engineering Design’s C-DART provides a remote installation system for a WEC or other floating system. The novel system allows quick connection and disconnection of a WEC to an offshore buoy, providing both a mechanical mooring and electrical connection.

Quoceant’s Q-Connect design is a set of modular subsystems that can be combined in different configurations to provide quick, safe, and low-cost connection for wave and tidal energy devices. The system can cater for slack and taut moored devices on the surface or sub-sea.

Tim Hurst, managing director of WES, said: “This programme will develop technology that will reduce the cost of wave and tidal energy and ultimately help marine energy play a part in Scotland’s net-zero future.

“Connecting and disconnecting devices quickly and remotely will increase safety in offshore operations, and the wider potential for these technologies is significant across offshore and subsea applications”.

Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for net-zero, energy and transport, added: “My congratulations go to Apollo Offshore Engineering, Blackfish Engineering Design and Quoceant for securing the funding announced today.

Finding ways to help develop wave energy commercialise is one of the key goals for the sector, and I look forward to these projects helping deliver that goal and drive forward what is one of the most exciting technologies available to us on our journey to a net-zero economy”.

The overall aim of WES’ quick connection systems programme is to reduce the duration, cost and risk of offshore operation for wave energy convertors by supporting projects to design and develop quick connection and disconnection systems between devices and moorings and/or electrical systems.

The approach employed in this programme should enable de-risking of subsequent systems developed for use in commercial arrays in the future.

This is the last stage gate funding process in the WES programme, which has been fully funded by the Scottish Government.