Edinburgh-based wave-energy developer Mocean Energy has deployed its scale prototype wave-energy converter Blue X atthe European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC) Scapa Flow test site off Orkney, Scotland.
Fabricated at Fife fabricators AJS Production, the Blue X is 20 metres long and weighs 38 tonnes. It’s essentially a floating-hinged raft that features a unique geometry designed to improve performance and increase durability by diving through the largest waves. It’s a standalone device that is operated wirelessly, a 4G connection allowing commands to be sent and data downloaded from shore.
When the initial sea trials at Scapa Flow have been completed, the Blue X will be moved to EMEC’s grid-connected wave test site at Billia Croo on Orkney’s west coast, where it will go through its paces in more rigorous, full-sea conditions.
‘In the days and weeks ahead, we will produce first power and prove how the Blue X machine operates in a variety of sea states,’ said Mocean Energy’s managing director, Cameron McNatt. ‘In the Scapa testing phase, we will test power production and compare results against our numerical predictions, and we will test operations including towing, installation, removal and access at sea
‘As we drive toward net zero, we will need many forms of renewable energy and wave energy can make a significant contribution,’ he continued. ‘Our test programme in Orkney will allow us to prove our concept at sea, particularly that its novel hull shapes will produce more power than traditional raft designs. This enables the development of commercial-scale technologies suited to the oil and gas and other industries.’
Next year, Mocean Energy plans to connect the Blue X to a subsea battery that will be used to power a remotely operated autonomous underwater vehicle.