Mocean Energy, a U.K.-based wave power company, has unveiled Blue X, a machine prototype that will be used to harvest tidal energy. The prototype was unveiled on Wednesday, April 21 in a ceremony at the Forth Ports’ Rosyth Docks. Weighing 38 metric tons and measuring 20 meters long, the prototype will be deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre’s Scapa Flow site for trials. If the trials go according to plan, the machine will be moved to the EMEC’s Billia Croo testing site for large-scale trials.
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The testing program is being supported by Wave Energy Scotland (WES), a body set up by the Scottish government to oversee the development of wave energy. WES is pumping a whopping £3.3 million ($4.56 million) into the project through its Novel Wave Energy Converter program. It is expected that the Blue X machine will be connected to an underwater battery next year and will be used to power a remote-controlled underwater vehicle.
“Against the backdrop of COVID-19 restrictions Mocean Energy and their subcontractors have completed build of the prototype,” said Tim Hurst, WES managing director. “The focus is now on commissioning and the learning to be gained from the open water test campaign.”
The Scottish government has been committed to reversing climate change and has already implemented measures to achieve its targets. The country has ambitious targets of reducing carbon emission by 75% by 2030. Through its Climate Change Plan, the government is supporting technologies like Blue X to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045.
“We are extremely fortunate to have the backing of Wave Energy Scotland, OGTC and our industry partners in this programme,” Cameron McNatt, managing director of Mocean Energy, said. “They bring an extraordinary amount of knowledge and experience which we can draw on to accelerate our technology development ambitions.”
The machine was entirely fabricated in Scotland, according to McNatt. Fife fabricator AJS Production was at the heart of the hardware fabrication while Montrose-based Rybay Corrosion services did the painting work. Through the WES program, several other Scottish companies were involved in the engineering and design works.
According to Mocean Energy, tidal energy could power 50 million homes and cut 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year just by using 1% of all available wave energy globally.
Image via Mocean Energy