Getting Metal Wet: Mocean Energy's Wave Energy Device Arrives in Orkney Ahead of Sea Trials


The Blue X wave energy prototype from Mocean Energy has been unloaded at Hatston Pier in Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland ahead of summer sea trials.

The wave energy device, which is 20 meters long and weighs 38 tons, was built entirely in Scotland and transported by road from Rosyth to Aberdeen, then by ship to Orkney.

Mocean Energy said Friday that the Blue X will be tested in Kirkwall Harbour before being towed counterclockwise around Orkney to Copland's Dock in Stromness.

The device will then be deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre’s Scapa Flow test site for sea trials initially, and then later will move to EMEC’s grid-connected wave test site at Billia Croo, on the west coast of Orkney.

Next year, the company 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 in the offshore sector.

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.

Mocean Energy Managing Director Cameron McNatt said: "This is a significant moment for Mocean Energy as our first prototype moves towards operations at sea – where all of our computer modeling, design, and engineering will be put to the test."

"Our program at EMEC will allow us to prove our concept at sea, particularly that its novel hull shapes will produce more power than traditional raft designs."

“We are working with Orkney-based partners including EMEC, Leask Marine, Heddles, Orkney Harbour Authority, and Orcades Marine, each of which has significant experience in testing at sea and operating in Orkney, and we very much look forward to learning with them.

 “Our test program coincides with the real prospect of a UK market support mechanism for marine energy, which could enable Scotland’s wave and tidal sector to take a global lead at a time when the whole word is seeking new ways to create a net-zero future.”

Neil Kermode, Managing Director at EMEC said: "A very warm welcome to the Mocean Energy team to Orkney. We are looking forward to supporting Mocean’s testing program here at EMEC over the coming months. The staged approach which has been followed to develop the Blue X device through the WES program will be continued as it is firstly put through its paces at our smaller-scale, ‘gentler’ test site in Scapa Flow, prior to being subjected to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean at Billia Croo.

"Getting metal wet and testing technologies for prolonged periods is vital to prove performance, reliability, and survivability, as well as how to install, operate, maintain and decommission such structures. With more technologies tested here in Orkney than anywhere else in the world, we’ve built up a repertoire of knowledge that can be shared to aid Mocean Energy’s journey, and I’m very interested to see how the Blue X performs and what lessons it will learn.”

Earlier this year Mocean Energy announced a £1.6 million project with OGTC, oil major Chrysaor (now newly formed Harbour Energy) and subsea specialists EC-OG and Modus to demonstrate the potential of the Blue X prototype to power a subsea battery and a remote underwater vehicle – using onshore testing at EC-OG’s Aberdeen facility.

The Blue X wave machine was built in Scotland by Fife fabricator AJS Production and painted by Montrose-based Rybay Corrosion services. Numerous hardware and services were supplied by companies who have developed capabilities through the WES programme, including The University of Edinburgh who supplied their CGEN generator, Supply Design and Blackfish Engineering Design.

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