On the 13th of June, we had the pleasure of welcoming guests for a first-hand look at our collaborative Renewables for Subsea Power demonstrator project. We were joined by our project partners from Verlume, Transmark Subsea, Baker Hughes, and representatives from our sponsors Serica Energy, Harbour Energy and PTTEP who travelled all the way from Thailand for the occasion, as well as existing and potential investors.
Located off the East coast of the Orkney, the full system was deployed in February to demonstrate how green technologies can be combined to provide reliable, low-carbon power and communications to subsea equipment, as a low cost alternative to umbilical cables.
Our prototype wave energy converter, Blue X is generating power from capturing wave motions, delivering this to Halo, Verlume’s seabed battery energy storage system. Halo delivers autonomous reliable power through an intelligent energy management system to subsea equipment whilst receiving intermittent charge from the Blue X. The Halo frame incorporates the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle docking garage for the Transmark Subsea and Boxfish Robotics, ARV-i. The battery provides power to the ARV-i when docked to recharge the onboard batteries whilst also providing a communications link for specific missions to be delivered from onshore. Simultaneously power is delivered to a Baker Hughes Subsea Electronic Module, SEM 5, simulating real subsea control equipment in an operational environment.
“It was a great experience to represent Verlume at the industry day in Orkney. We’re proud to be a project partner – delivering a Halo subsea battery energy storage to manage power generation intermittency and ensure a continuous power output whilst providing a gateway for communications from the end loads back to the WEC. It was fantastic to hear the interest in the project first hand, with some very positive conversations around use cases for the system within decarbonisation projects across offshore wind and CCUS.” – says Robert Heron, Product Manager at Verlume
The trip to the offshore site was scenic passing by the iconic Orkney cliffs which are home to unique marine birds, the Copinsay lighthouse and green grassy hills unfurling in the distance.
As Blue X took contour in the blue horizon, conversations came to a halt. Upon arrival at the site, everyone was silent for a moment, entranced by the hinge movement and the aft hull slowly lulling from the mid-afternoon waves. Even in calm wave conditions such as this, the device was actively generating power and the solar panels installed on top of the device offered a complimentary boost to feed communications and on-board hotel loads.
Some fruitful conversations were sparked about potential applications of this complete solution for offshore wind, carbon capture and storage, and off-grid power – inspiring confidence by combining innovative devices, towards a greener energy industry.
At lunchtime, we showcased some underwater footage captured by the ARV-i drone which gives a unique glimpse on subsea activities. The ARV-i carried out autonomous docking manoeuvres, surveyed cables and connections, and showcased the scale of Halo nestled on the seabed and the Blue X seen from below, half submerged. It was fascinating to have this vantage point completing the above water picture we saw from the boat earlier.
Afterwards, the teams at Transmark Subsea and Boxfish Robotics set up a unique experience for us: guests had a shot at manually operating a mini ARV-i on the pier, much like professional operators would for real subsea inspections.
One of the things that really sticks out was probably the first time that we approached the Blue X wave energy converter when it was deployed at its current location, and just seeing it appearing and the sight is really quite special. It’s a beautiful location, and it’s quite an experience doing testing in such an amazing place.” – Nigel Money, Director at Transmark Subsea
“I think the most exciting time is when we towed the device out to site, connected it onto the moorings and got it all working together. It’s great seeing all the months of hard work coming together and the positive outcomes from this project.” – Tom Jackson, Operations Supervisor at Mocean Energy