Demonstration of subsea wave power

9 March 2021

Scottish wave power company Mocean Energy and energy storage developer EC-OG, with Chrysaor, Modus, OGTC and Baker Hughes have invested £1.6 million in a programme to develop a wave power and energy storage system for subsea projects. The aim of the programme is to build a demo wave-powered renewable energy system for subsea equipment.

The programme’s aim is to demonstrate how wave power coupled with underwater energy storage can be used to cost-effectively lower the carbon footprint of providing power to subsea oil and gas production equipment and autonomous underwater vehicles.

Grant funding provided by OGTC has been matched by financial and in-kind contributions from the project partners. The demonstrator will be tested onshore at EC-OG’s facility in Aberdeen in July and August 2021, with ambitions to test the system at sea later in the year.

The programme follows on from an earlier study in 2020, part funded by OGTC, undertaken by the partners. The study established the environmental benefits of the design concept that will be used for the upcoming demonstration programme.

Describing the project, Cameron McNatt, Mocean Energy’s managing director commented: “Our technology uses renewable energy from waves to deliver low carbon power for subsea equipment, including tiebacks and future fleets of autonomous underwater vehicles. In this programme, we will demonstrate – in onshore conditions  – how our wave device will deliver power and communication to subsea equipment.”

Nigel Ward, managing director at Modus said: “This project will demonstrate the capability to provide temporary or semi-permanent modular series residency for hybrid autonomous underwater vehicles, recharged subsea and controlled from shore using ‘over-the-horizon’ technology. This innovative and flexible approach to survey and inspection will reduce the numbers of personnel required offshore, providing significant benefits and cost savings, without compromising quality.”

There is potential to use such systems in a number of subsea applications, including remediation of faulty umbilical cables in existing developments, as fast track solutions for single well tiebacks and as an enabler for ultra-long step out distances – greater than 200km – where local renewable power generation could make these developments more environmentally and economically viable.

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