Wave power specialists Mocean Energy unveiled on 21 April its ‘Blue X’ wave energy prototype, a machine that will be deployed at sea in Orkney during May.

The 20 metre long, 38 tonne wave machine has been fabricated wholly in Scotland and will be deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre’s Scapa Flow test site for sea trials initially, and then later deployed at EMEC’s large scale Billia Croo test site this summer.

Mocean plans to connect the device to a subsea battery next year. It will be used to power a remotely operated autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). The manufacture and testing programme is supported by £3.3 million from Wave Energy Scotland (WES) through their Novel Wave Energy Converter programme.

The machine was unveiled at a ceremony at Forth Port’s Rosyth Docks by WES managing director Tim Hurst, who commented: “This is a significant milestone for Mocean Energy and for WES.  The product of five years of the WES programme and three phases of development for the Mocean technology that has seen the Blue X progress from concept, through wave tank testing and now to a scaled, real sea demonstrator. The focus is now on commissioning and the learning to be gained from the open water test campaign.” The Blue X will now undergo ballasting and wet testing at Rosyth before being transported to Orkney. 

Commenting on the project Mocean Energy managing director Cameron McNatt said: “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. We have a number of months in the summer to put the Blue X through sea trails, and in parallel test the subsea equipment at EC-OG’s home base. Next year we intend to ship the battery and AUV to Orkney and pair them up with Blue X at sea.”

Last month Mocean Energy announced a £1.6 million project with OGTC, oil company 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.