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Mocean Energy to put wave power to use with subsea project off Orkney

By John Davidson

A computer-generated image of Mocean Energy's Blue Star device with related tieback infrastructure.
A computer-generated image of Mocean Energy's Blue Star device with related tieback infrastructure.

A wave power device due to be tested in Orkney later this year will be used to power underwater vehicles as part of an innovative field trial.

Edinburgh-based Mocean Energy last year secured £3.3 million from Wave Energy Scotland to build and test a half-scale version of its technology at sea.

Now the company has teamed up with energy major Chrysaor, subsea energy storage experts EC-OG and AUV specialist Modus in a project to look at using renewables for subsea power.

Mocean Energy managing director Cameron McNatt said: “This project gives us the opportunity to put our prototype to real use and will give us the chance to draw on the subsea expertise of our project partners.

“It is a genuine opportunity to showcase the potential for renewable energy to power a subsea application.”

The project, funded by the partners together with the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), will look to use Mocean Energy’s Blue Star wave energy converter and EC-OG’s HALO subsea energy storage system to power subsea tiebacks or residential autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).

If industry feedback is positive, the partners say they will press ahead with a technology field trial using a Mocean Energy prototype in the seas off Orkney later this year.

The hope is that, once proven, these technologies could provide vital backup power in case of umbilical failure, with potential to provide green power for future fleets of AUVs.

Cameron McNatt, managing director of Mocean Energy.
Cameron McNatt, managing director of Mocean Energy.

“Our first step will be an industry workshop at the OGTC in Aberdeen on February 27 when we will gather information on real-world applications and our field trial plans,” explained Mr McNatt.

“We then plan to forge ahead with a field trial later this year at our test site in Orkney.”

The half-size Blue Star wave energy device is currently being fabricated.

Myrtle Dawes, solution centre director at the OGTC, said: “This project is a phenomenal example of cross-industry collaboration – one that brings together EC-OG, which was one of the first companies the OGTC supported, with Mocean Energy, which graduated from our TechX programme at the end of 2019 – to deliver an innovative technology that can help accelerate the industry’s move towards a net-zero carbon economy.

“The upcoming industry workshop will be key in forging closer cross-industry partnerships, allowing us to transform how we operate, inspire innovation and ultimately see the North Sea lead the way in energy transition technologies.”

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