Mocean Energy’s Blue X wave energy prototype has begun testing in Scotland. The 65.6-ft. (20-m) long, 41-ton (38-tonne) wave machine has been deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC) Scapa Flow test site for sea trials and will later be deployed at EMEC’s large-scale Billia Croo test site in Orkney, Scotland.
The manufacture and testing program is supported by US$4.6 million from Wave Energy Scotland (WES) through its Novel Wave Energy Converter program.
“This is a significant milestone for Mocean Energy and for WES. The product of five years of the WES program 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,” said Tim Hurst, managing director at WES. “This demonstration of credible wave technology comes at a time when there is a real prospect of a market support mechanism for marine energy, that taken together, will enable wave energy to make a significant contribution to the future Scottish and UK low-carbon energy mix needed to meet our net zero obligations.”
The Blue X will undergo ballasting and wet testing in Rosyth, Scotland, before being transported to Orkney. Mocean Energy plans to connect the device to a subsea battery in 2022. The battery will be used to power a remotely operated autonomous underwater vehicle.
The Blue X wave machine has been fabricated 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 though the WES program, including Supply Design, based in Rosyth, and Blackfish Engineering Design.
A custom-made 50-ton (45-tonne) working load limit (WLL) lifting frame designed by Modulift was used to place Blue X into the North Sea for testing.
“Lifting is a critical operation for Blue X – the device is lifted on and off of transport, into and out of the water, sometimes over steep quaysides. And it is complex – Blue X is a hinged machine that can be lifted in two configurations,” said Cameron McNatt, managing director and co-founder of Mocean Energy. “Modulift provided a fit-for-purpose solution and delivered not just the lift beam but also the rigging and helped in the design process.”