Input sought for wave converter to power subsea equipment

Seabase energy converter. Credit: Morcean-Energy

An Edinburgh start-up is seeking oil and gas partners to help bring its Seabase wave converter that can power subsea equipment to market.

The company has already secured GBP100,000 (USD122,000) from Scottish Enterprise for the technical development of Seabase and further GBP100,000 from the Oil & Gas Technology Centre for its commercial development.
“Our Seabase wave energy converter will provide reliable renewable energy to power a range of subsea applications – from subsea control systems to remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and fully autonomous underwater vehicles,” said Mocean Energy managing director Cameron McNatt.

Its compact design – which fits in a 40 ft shipping container – will utilise a robust magnetic-geared power take-off to charge onboard batteries and provide continual power and communications to a range of existing and emerging subsea technologies.

“Initially we see it being used to provide backup power to subsea equipment where, for example, an umbilical fails. Longer term, Seabase will provide green power to future generations of field-resident ROVs and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), reducing vessel costs and emissions.”

A prototype of Seabase has recently undergone detailed tank testing at the University of Centrale Nantes, France. The 10-day programme was supported through the EU’s MARINET programme, which enabled Mocean Energy to test a 10th-scale model of Seabase in the university’s main ocean tank. “This work was extremely valuable,” explains Chris Retzler, who is Mocean Energy’s technical director.

“It has given us the opportunity to test Seabase in regular waves and to characterise the model response and to validate numerical models. “Further tests in irregular waves will provide data to calculate the output power in real sea conditions, whilst tests in the largest waves will indicate the survival capability of the machine,” he added.

Following the tests, the company has opened an office in Aberdeen, Scotland. “Aberdeen is a natural next step for us,” says McNatt. “The oil and gas market has a clear ambition to decarbonise, and Aberdeen is a global hub for offshore engineering expertise. We are now in early discussion with partners who can help bring Seabase to market.”

This will then pave the way to building a larger-scale prototype for testing at sea by 2022.