A £2 MILLION collaborative project to power underwater equipment with wave energy and subsea battery storage has been deployed in the seas off Orkney.

The demonstrator project, named Renewables for Subsea Power (RSP), has connected the “Blue X” wave energy converter built by Edinburgh company Mocean Energy with Aberdeen-based intelligent energy management specialist Verlume’s “Halo” underwater battery.

The two technologies are being tested five kilometres east of Orkney’s main island, Mainland. During this minimum four-month test programme, they will provide low-carbon power and communication to infrastructure including oil services company Baker Hughes’ subsea controls equipment and a “resident” underwater autonomous vehicle provided by Transmark Subsea.

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The European Marine Energy Centre has supplied instrumentation to measure the speed and direction of currents during the deployment, and the project is also being supported by Wave Energy Scotland.

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Mocean said: “The project aims to show how green technologies can be combined to provide reliable low-carbon power and communications to subsea equipment, offering a cost-effective alternative to umbilical cables, which are carbon-intensive with long lead times to procure and install.”

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The Orkney deployment is the third phase of the RSP project, which is being supported by consortium partners including UK-based energy companies Harbour Energy and Serica Energy. Each phase of the programme has also been backed by grant funding from the Net Zero Technology Centre.

In 2021, the consortium invested £1.6 million into phase two of the programme, This saw the successful integration of the core technologies in an onshore commissioning test environment at Verlume’s operations facility in Aberdeen.

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

Verlume’s Halo seabed battery energy storage system has been designed for harsh underwater environments.

Andy Martin, chief commercial officer at Verlume, said: “This offshore test programme is the pinnacle of the success to date in this project…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.”