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Wave energy developer joins up with university team

By Staff Reporter

A computer generated image of a wave farm using Mocean Energy's Blue Horizon devices.
A computer generated image of a wave farm using Mocean Energy's Blue Horizon devices.

The company behind one of two wave energy devices being developed for sea tests in Orkney next year has teamed up with a technology developer.

Mocean Energy has selected the University of Edinburgh’s C-GEN technology to provide the power take-off (PTO) for its first half-scale wave energy prototype.

In January Mocean secured £3.3 million from Wave Energy Scotland (WES) to develop and build a scale prototype of its Blue Horizon wave machine, which will be deployed at Orkney's European Marine Energy Centre in 2020.

The half-size demonstrator will use C-GEN, a novel direct-drive generator developed by the University of Edinburgh which is highly efficient over a wide range of wave conditions. The university is also currently engaged with WES in a separate project to develop and demonstrate C-GEN technology.

Mocean Energy managing director Cameron McNatt said: “Blue Horizon is a hinged raft with a unique geometry which flexes in two dimensions via a relatively slow-moving single hinge. C-GEN is a good match for us because it delivers high efficiencies in the right range of speeds.

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

“Our test programme will ensure we optimise the performance of both technologies to extract the maximum mechanical energy from our operational machine.”

The two teams will now build a test rig, which will be tested at a specialist facility in Rosyth, where they can put the C-GEN PTO through performance and acceptance testing using representative wave data. The same PTO will then be installed in Mocean Energy’s half-scale prototype which will be manufactured in Scotland later this year.

Professor Markus Mueller, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “The integration of the C-GEN generator into Mocean’s wave energy device is an exciting development, pushing forward the benefits of the modular direct drive generator from marine test rig to marine environment operation.

“This programme will allow us to industrialise the design and manufacture of C-GEN for marine renewable applications and demonstrate C-GEN in a real environment, at a relevant scale and under realistic load profiles.”

WES, a subsidiary of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, is driving the search for innovative solutions to the technical challenges facing the wave energy sector and has invested almost £40 million in research and development in the sector.

An image of the proposed C-GEN test rig.
An image of the proposed C-GEN test rig.

Tim Hurst, managing director at WES, said: “Wave Energy Scotland appreciates Mocean Energy’s progress within our Novel Wave Energy Converter programme.

“Its project will be the first use of C-GEN technology in a real wave energy converter and reflects the success of the WES program at uniting technology development programs to produce a complete working system.

“The co-operation between Mocean Energy and University of Edinburgh illustrates the benefits to the sector of greater collaboration and partnership. This is a significant milestone for the Mocean Energy team and prepares the way for the build of the device itself and subsequent deployment and testing at sea in 2020.”

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