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Companies secure £1.4m to develop quick connection systems for wave energy

Published: 15/07/2020

Projects led by Apollo, Blackfish Engineering Design, Nova Innovation and Quoceant secure funding from Wave Energy Scotland (WES).

Projects will develop technology to enable the quick connection and disconnection of wave energy convertors, reducing costs and improving reliability.

Tim Hurst, WES managing director (photo by John Paul)

Four projects will share just under £1.4 million for projects that aim to bring down the cost of wave power.

The teams have secured funding from HIE subsidiary, Wave Energy Scotland (WES) to develop quick connection systems to improve the installation efficiency and infrastructure of wave power devices. 

Apollo’s PALM connector uses a passive locking mechanism that provides the connection and load transfer between the wave energy convertor (WEC) and its moorings.  This function is purely mechanical and requires only the input of a suitable deck winch on the installation vessel.

Blackfish Engineering Design’s C-DART provides a remote installation system for a WEC or other floating system.  The novel system allows quick connection and disconnection of a WEC to an offshore buoy, providing both a mechanical mooring and electrical connection.

Nova Innovation’s MECmate is a wet-mate connection solution specifically designed for marine energy converters (MECs).  The project builds on their proven NovaCan technology currently in operation in Nova’s Shetland tidal array.

Quoceant’s Q-Connect is a set of modular subsystems that can be combined in different configurations to provide quick, safe, and low-cost connection for wave and tidal energy devices.  The system can cater for slack and taut moored devices on the surface or sub-sea.

Commenting on the awards, Tim Hurst, managing director of WES said

“This programme will develop technology that will reduce the cost of wave and tidal energy and ultimately help marine energy play a part in Scotland’s net-zero future. 

“Connecting and disconnecting devices quickly and remotely will increase safety in offshore operations, and the wider potential for these technologies is significant across offshore and subsea applications.”

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said:

“This announcement represents an important step forward for Scotland’s world-leading wave energy sector.  We believe that wave energy offers tremendous economic potential and can play an important role in Scotland’s response to the global climate emergency.

“I am immensely proud of the progress being made under our Wave Energy Scotland programme, which is by far the largest of its kind in the world.  I congratulate all the successful teams under this funding call and look forward to seeing further progress from these projects in the months to come.”

From the seven Stage 1 projects, four projects have come through the WES Stage Gate process to secure Stage 2 contracts in the Quick Connection Systems programme.

The overall aim of the quick connection systems programme is to reduce the duration, cost and risk of offshore operation for wave energy convertors by supporting projects to design and develop quick connection and disconnection systems between devices and moorings and/or electrical systems.

The teams aim to develop their designs during the second stage of the programme, working with partners to test and model the technology prior to scale testing in the future.

This is the latest stage gate funding process in the WES programme, which is fully funded by the Scottish Government.

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