Wave Energy Tests Completed for 2021 in Scotland
The Blue X wave energy machine, which is designed to operate in harsh sea conditions and has the potential to be used in supporting offshore facilities wrapped up its first round of ocean testing. The 38-ton wave machine successfully completed its first season of testing in the waters north of Scotland and will now be serviced and prepared for new test in the summer of 2022.
“This has been an immensely valuable period where we have been able to understand how our machine operates in real sea conditions and gain practical experience in operations including towing, installation, removal, and access at sea,” said Cameron McNatt, Managing Director of Mocean Energy developers of Blue X. “This has given us tremendous confidence in our design – both in its ability to capture wave energy effectively, and also the way in which it dives below the biggest waves, enabling it to shed the heaviest loads.”
The 10kW prototype began its test phase in mid-June and since then has completed 154 days at sea, delivering steady outputs of up to 5 kW with peaks of 30 kW. It operated in sea states up to 2.3 meters maximum wave height.
During the testing program conducted at the European Marine Energy Center’s (EMEC) test site in the Orkney Islands the team worked to unmoor, tow and moor the machine multiple times. The trial also tested the use of solar panels on deck, sent commands from shore, and test power production in various sea states.
In the last few days, Blue X, which measures nearly 66 feet, was towed from EMEC’s Scapa Flow test site to Kirkwall. It was lifted onto Hatston Pier, where it will be cleaned, inspected, and maintained until next year’s testing program. Next year, they plan to again put the device to sea in Orkney and will connect the machine to a subsea battery which will be used to power a remotely operated autonomous underwater vehicle. They will be exploring potential applications for oil and gas offshore operators.
The deployment and demonstration of the Blue X at EMEC was funded by Wave Energy Scotland and supported by Interreg North-West Europe’s Ocean DEMO project.