Via Kristy Dorsey
To accelerate the commercialization of its wave energy technology, Edinburgh start-up Mocean Energy has secured a six-figure investment.
In a financing round led by the business angel consortium Equity Gap, along with Old College Capital, the in-house investment fund of the University of Edinburgh, and the Scottish Investment Bank, the company raised £ 612,000. A further £ 250,000 from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, was leveraged into this equity support.
For markets such as the oil and gas and utility sectors, Mocean was established in 2015 and develops marine energy converters (WECs). The Blue Star converter, which is designed for the operation of subsea oil and gas installations, is its main product.
CEO Cameron McNatt – who co-founded the company with Chris Retzler, Pelamis Wave Power’s co-founder and former chief scientist – said Mocean is working to develop a commercially available wave engine that will provide low-carbon power for future autonomous underwater vehicle fleets (AUVs).
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Increasingly, AUVs are used for the inspection, repair and maintenance of underwater equipment, but they require electricity provided by emission-producing offshore gas turbines. Blue Star seeks to have an option that is greener.
“Blue Star was designed from the beginning to operate autonomously in remote locations and provide green energy for a range of applications, including marine scientific monitoring, aquaculture, oil and gas exploration, and powering remote communities,” McNatt said.
“We are currently working with companies in the Scottish supply chain to build and deliver our first prototype, which will be tested at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney next year.”
Fife-based AJS Production, a specialist in offshore production, is carrying out work on this 30-ton machine. A floating raft with hinges that catches ocean currents is used in the half-scale test version to charge batteries on board, from which energy can then be exported via a cable. Once finished, prior to being shipped to Orkney, the system will undergo initial testing at Burntisland.
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The design and testing of this half-scale version was funded by £ 3.3 million from Wave Energy Scotland, the Scottish government’s technology development body set up in 2015 after the demise of Pelamis and Aquamarine Power. Its aim is to help the sector pursue the net-zero carbon goals of the government.
“The equity funding is a huge boost and underlines our ambition to deliver a commercial product,” Mr McNatt said.
“In addition to supporting our technology development, this will enable us to create two new full-time positions that will provide an increased focus on finding the right industry partners to advance our commercialization goals. Crucially, it also brings on board three new non-executive board members whose vast experience will help us deliver on our vision.”
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Mocean, which currently employs 12 people, has already announced a pilot project to investigate the possible use of the Blue Star prototype to power an underwater battery and remotely controlled submersible vehicle with the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, oil firm Chrysaor, and subsea specialists EC-OG and Modus.
This initiative comes at a time when the whole oil and gas industry focuses on combining production with low-carbon greenhouse gas emission reduction solutions. Oil and gas production currently accounts for around 3% of the U.K. total. Its pollution.
“Mocean Energy has exciting technology backed by very sound science and is ideally positioned to help the oil and gas sector decarbonize its operations, with more global applications to follow.” said Fraser Lusty, director of Equity Gap.
“Bold and ambitious low-carbon technology companies such as Mocean Energy are essential to Scotland’s transition to a net zero emissions economy,” added Kerry Sharp, Director of the Scottish Investment Bank. This latest