Edinburgh's Mocean Energy waves hello to 'milestone' seven-figure EU funding for major Orkney project

Edinburgh-based Mocean Energy has secured more than £3 million in European funding to bring about a large-scale wave machine in Orkney as it eyes the longer-term use of its technology around the world.
Cameron McNatt, co-founder and MD of Mocean, who brands the firm's latest funding a 'major milestone'. Picture: Peter Dibdin.Cameron McNatt, co-founder and MD of Mocean, who brands the firm's latest funding a 'major milestone'. Picture: Peter Dibdin.
Cameron McNatt, co-founder and MD of Mocean, who brands the firm's latest funding a 'major milestone'. Picture: Peter Dibdin.

The wave energy firm said the 250-kilowatt (kW) device known as Blue Horizon 250 will be made in Scotland and deployed in a grid-connected berth

at the European Marine Energy Centre (Emec) in Orkney as early as 2025. It is hoped that the project could pave the way for a small wave farm delivering one to two megawatts of low-carbon electricity by 2030.

Mocean has been awarded the equivalent of £3.2 million in the third phase of EuropeWave, a pre-commercial procurement programme funded through the EU and managed in collaboration with Wave Energy Scotland (WES), the Basque Energy Agency, and Ocean Energy Europe.

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Cameron McNatt, co-founder and MD of Mocean, branded the funding a “major milestone” for the firm, and follows fundraising last year and in 2020. “This programme will allow us to build a significantly larger machine based on our proven hinged raft design, and incorporate our novel direct drive generator,” he added.

“I am grateful to EuropeWave for this support, which will help leverage the additional private investment this project will require. Looking further ahead, our goal is to deliver a small array in UK waters this decade, and I am confident that with appropriate innovation funding in place, we can realise our ambition to build commercial wave energy arrays and generate home-grown green energy from our seas, both in the UK and around the world.”

Mocean also said it is already a key participant in the £2m Renewables for Subsea Power (RSP) programme that has connected its ten-kW Blue X wave energy prototype with a Halo underwater battery system developed by Aberdeen intelligent energy management specialist Verlume.

The two technologies are currently in the seas off Orkney, delivering low-carbon power and communication to infrastructure including Baker Hughes’ subsea controls equipment, and a resident underwater autonomous vehicle provided by Transmark Subsea.

Mocean added that Blue Horizon 250 will be a “significant” step up from Blue X and is designed for commercial applications on islands and remote communities, while also including early-grid projects and off-grid applications, such as oil and gas and aquaculture.

The Blue X prototype was built in Scotland with around 80 per cent local supply-chain content, and it is anticipated Blue Horizon will deliver similar levels of local work. In March, Mocean Energy selected Aberdeen-based Texo Engineering and Fabrication as its preferred fabrication, assembly and load-out contractor for its future wave-energy convertors.

The deployment and demonstration of the Blue X at Emec was funded by WES, whose MD Tim Hurst has now said: “With their Blue X prototype deployed in Scapa Flow, Mocean Energy proved their technology had the right cost, performance, and reliability to deliver commercial wave energy. The RSP project has successfully demonstrated the technology in a specific oil and gas application, and now phase three of EuropeWave will demonstrate that the technology can scale up and ultimately be deployed in sufficient numbers to make a significant contribution to our net zero targets.”

Neil Kermode, Emec’s MD, said: “We’re delighted to see Mocean secure this funding, and continue the next steps in their development journey in Orkney.”

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