Energy major Shell has recently joined the Renewables for Subsea Power (RSP) collaborative project, which aims to power subsea equipment off the coast of Orkney using a combination of wave power and subsea energy storage. The £2 million demonstrator initiative, which has been in the water for nearly 12 months, has connected the Blue X wave energy converter, built by Mocean Energy, with the Halo underwater battery storage system developed by Verlume. The project, located 5km east of Orkney Mainland, aims to demonstrate how green technologies can be combined to provide reliable low carbon power and communications to subsea equipment. This offers a cost-effective alternative to carbon-intensive umbilical cables, which have long lead times for procurement and installation.

Shell’s investment in the project comes through its Shell Technology – Marine Renewable Programme, a global R&D group focused on finding, screening, testing, and developing marine renewable energy technologies to achieve more value with lower emissions. By joining the RSP project, Shell will have access to all data and results from the current test program, as well as a feasibility assessment of using RSP technology at a location of their choice. Shell will be joining project leads Mocean Energy and Verlume, along with other industry players such as Baker Hughes, Serica Energy, Harbour Energy, Transmark Subsea, PTTEP, TotalEnergies, and the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC).

Ian Crossland, Commercial Director at Mocean Energy, expressed excitement about Shell’s investment, highlighting the international interest in the project and the potential for exploring new applications for RSP’s combined technologies. Andy Martin, Chief Commercial Officer at Verlume, also welcomed Shell’s participation and emphasised the technical and commercial achievements of the project thus far. Graeme Rogerson, Head of Net Zero Technology at NZTC, commended the progress of the Renewables for Subsea Power project and noted the effectiveness of Mocean Energy’s Blue X wave energy converter and Verlume’s Halo underwater battery storage system in delivering low carbon power and communication to offshore subsea infrastructure.

The Orkney deployment marks the third phase of the RSP project. In 2021, the consortium invested £1.6 million into phase two, which successfully integrated the core technologies in an onshore test environment in Aberdeen. Mocean Energy’s Blue X prototype also underwent rigorous at-sea testing in 2021, generating first power and gathering key data on performance and operation at the European Marine Energy Centre’s Scapa Flow test site in Orkney. Verlume’s Halo seabed battery energy storage system, designed for the harsh underwater environment, reduces operational emissions and provides a reliable power supply. The system’s intelligent energy management system, Axonn, maximises available battery capacity in real time.

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6th February 2024