Wave power and batteries to decarbonise subsea operations

A collaborative project to power subsea equipment with wave power and subsea energy storage has been deployed in seas north of Scotland.

Mocean Energy Blue X deployment to Copinsay
Mocean Energy Blue X deployment to Copinsay - Colin Keldie, EMEC

The £2m Renewables for Subsea Power (RSP) demonstrator project has connected Mocean Energy’s Blue X wave energy converter with a Halo underwater battery developed by Verlume, an Aberdeen-based intelligent energy management specialist.

The two technologies have been arranged in the seas off Orkney and have now begun a minimum four-month test programme where they will provide low carbon power and communication to infrastructure including Baker Hughes’ subsea controls equipment and an underwater autonomous vehicle provided by Transmark Subsea.

“This is a natural next step for our technology,” Mocean Energy managing director Cameron McNatt said in a statement. “The new test site east off Deerness offers a much more vigorous wave climate and the opportunity to demonstrate the integration of a number of technologies in real sea conditions.”

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has supplied instrumentation to measure the speed and direction of currents during the deployment, whilst Wave Energy Scotland has provided £160,000 to support the integration of the umbilical into the wave energy converter.

The project aims to show how green technologies can be combined to provide reliable low carbon power and communications to subsea equipment.

The Orkney deployment is the third phase of the Renewables for Subsea Power project, which is supported by consortium partners including UK-based energy companies Harbour Energy and Serica Energy. Each phase of the programme has also been supported by grant funding from the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC). 

In 2021, the consortium invested £1.6m into phase two of the programme that saw the integration of the core technologies in an onshore commissioning test environment at Verlume’s operations facility in Aberdeen. They are now testing the entire system at sea at a site 5km east of the Orkney Mainland, raising the system’s TRL to 6-7.

In 2021, Mocean Energy’s Blue X prototype underwent a programme of at-sea testing at the European Marine Energy Centre’s Scapa Flow test site in Orkney where they generated first power and gathered important data on machine performance and operation.

Halo has been designed for the harsh underwater environment, reducing operational emissions and enabling the use of renewable energy by providing a reliable power supply. Halo’s fundamental basis is its intelligent energy management system, Axonn, maximises available battery capacity in real time.

The RSP Halo system is the second variant that has been built for commercial wave power integration and the first to be built at Verlume’s facility in Dyce, Aberdeen.

Andy Martin, chief commercial officer at Verlume said: “This offshore test programme is the pinnacle of the success to date in this project, we are very much looking forward to the Halo being deployed. The testing will provide a great opportunity to gather high quality performance and operational data which will support the further electrification of the subsea sector.”