Wave energy converter prototype boost for subsea technologies
Image credit: Tom Barnett/ MOCEAN ENERGY
Work has begun on a 30-tonne wave energy converter prototype, which will power subsea technologies in Orkney.
Wave energy converters turn the kinetic and potential energy of waves into electrical energy. Orkney, which hosts the European Marine Energy Centre, is a hub of research and development for these technologies. The centre has a collection of test sites and other facilities scattered across the islands, where various types of wave energy convertor are trialled and developed.
The latest device, the 'Blue Star' converter, is designed by Edinburgh-based clean energy start-up Mocean Energy and manufactured by AJS Production.
Mocean Energy is planning a pilot project to study the potential use of its Blue Star prototype to power a subsea battery and remote underwater vehicle at the Orkney site. The device is compact enough to fit in a 12m shipping container and uses a magnetic-geared power take-off to charge onboard batteries and provide uninterrupted power and communications.
Work has begun on a 20m-long, half-scale prototype. It will be used for sea trials before it begins generating power later this year.
“The UK oil and gas sector is exploring ways to decarbonise their operations and this technology has a range of uses in powering subsea technology,” said Cameron McNatt, managing director of Mocean. “Our Blue Star design has undergone rigorous numerical modelling and tank testing at the world-leading wave tank at Nantes and it is very exciting to see it taking shape in steel in advance of sea trials.”
Raymond Imrie, managing director of AJS, commented: “This is a great project to be involved in and is yet another milestone in Scotland, being at the forefront in leading the UK to become carbon neutral. The project is well under way and although we have been involved in similar contracts, we are still learning lessons when it comes to working on prototypes of this scale.”
“We have had the backing of a good lead team, along with a professional design team, who have certainly made the project run smoothly. We’re looking forward to seeing the device launched successfully and sea trials beginning in the autumn.”
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