ORE Catapult’s new marine test buoy in Wales hosts first technology trial

Grafmarine has installed its NanoDeck technology on ORE Catapult’s marine test asset in Milford Haven Waterway, deployed last month.

Grafmarine is the first Welsh innovator set to benefit from a new research buoy deployed by the Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE), part of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

The buoy provides a unique test and demonstration facility within the Marine Energy Test Area (META) in Pembrokeshire, allowing new marine products and services to be developed at minimal cost and risk to companies.

In April 2022, Grafmarine installed its modular tile-based product, NanoDeck – which can generate, store and intelligently manage solar power – on ORE Catapult’s test buoy. It’s the first time the technology has been tested in a real-world marine environment, advancing its journey to commercialisation.

Data will be captured from the buoy and the NanoDeck prototype to assess its performance and durability, supporting Grafmarine in increasing the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the product from 6 to 7.

Demonstrating on the MEECE test buoy enables Grafmarine to showcase how the NanoDeck, initially targeted at the shipping sector, can be applied to the burgeoning offshore renewable energy market.

The deployment of the marine test buoy marks a key milestone for ORE Catapult’s activities in Wales as it allows MEECE to enhance its offering to the Welsh marine and offshore renewable energy sectors. MEECE is working to put Wales and Welsh companies at the heart of the UK’s growing marine and offshore wind sectors, ensuring they play a vital role in tackling global climate change and decarbonising our energy needs, as well as grasping the huge economic opportunities on offer from the growth of the industry.

MEECE, based at Pembroke Dock, is a multi-million-pound collaboration between ORE Catapult and four Welsh Universities:  Swansea University, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Bangor University and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government and Swansea Bay City Deal.

Paul Ellsmore, Programme Manager for MEECE at ORE Catapult said:

“We’re thrilled to have such an innovative company like Grafmarine be the first to demonstrate its technology on our new marine test buoy. This is exactly why MEECE was established in the first place, to work with local universities, industry bodies and the local supply chain to support pioneering companies in Wales develop new products, processes and services for the offshore renewable energy sector.”

Nigel Marc Roberts, Chief Commercial Officer Grafmarine, said:

All the Grafmarine team would like to thank everyone at MEECE for their excellent technical support, understanding and service. The opportunity to collaborate on the ORE Catapult test buoy has greatly helped us to complete our first-stage sea trials of our NanoDeck clean energy integrated power management, generation, and storage solution. Allowing us to fast track our commercialisation process.”

With the buoy now deployed, and further projects lined up for testing, including Intelligent Mooring’s mooring damper for floating wind, ORE Catapult is asking innovative companies in Wales with ground-breaking concepts to come and work with the MEECE team to help commercialise their technologies. For more information and to get in touch, contact meece@ore.catapult.org.uk

Learn more about the work between ORE Catapult’s MEECE and Grafmarine here.

Bombora Floating mWave

Bombora and ORE Catapult collaborate to develop co-located floating wave and wind technology

Wave energy developer Bombora has joined forces with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE) in Wales to launch a cutting-edge floating wave technology research project.

The research will carry out a techno-economic appraisal of extending Bombora’s mWave™ technology into an offshore environment and will investigate the feasibility of co-location with floating wind structures.

Bombora’s patented membrane mWave wave energy converter offers a unique opportunity to rapidly develop a floating wave platform solution. This solution offers major advantages in relation to increased infrastructure utilisation and maximising capacity.

Sam Leighton, MD of Bombora said:

“We believe Bombora’s mWave technology offers an innovative solution that can meet the demands of the rapidly expanding offshore energy industry and reduce the levelised cost of energy. Increasing the cost effectiveness of projects by sharing the expense of joint infrastructure, such as the floating platform, moorings and export grid connection to shore will inevitably drive down costs.  Our research project with ORE Catapult is an important development stage to prove this potentially market disruptive solution.”

Dr Paul Ellsmore, MEECE Programme Manager for ORE Catapult added:

“This collaborative project cuts right to the heart of two important areas for innovation in offshore renewable energy right now – the development of wave energy and floating wind. To unlock the potential of co-locating these two technologies could be potentially game-changing for the sector.”

“Wales is the ideal location for this type of innovative project, being home to a number of wave and tidal developers and a prime location for floating wind development. We will apply our unique combination of technical expertise and research and testing facilities at MEECE to support innovative projects such as these and companies like Bombora.”

The UK has enough natural resources of offshore wind, wave, and tide to provide all the country’s energy requirements, including transport and heating, with spare for export to Europe.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) suggests global offshore wind generating capacity will be in excess of 500 GW by 2050.

Global investment in offshore wind projects between now and 2030 is likely to exceed £250bn. Offshore renewable energy is on course to provide much of the affordable and secure power needed to grow the UK economy and, when combined with the global export potential, represents the largest clean growth opportunity for the UK economy.

Bombora’s 1.5MW mWave Pembrokeshire Demonstration Project, supported by £10.3M European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, is on schedule. Full marine consent for installation off the coast of Pembrokeshire has been granted as the project moves into the assembly phase. Taking mWave further offshore will increase the capacity of the technology and open new markets and opportunities for large scale utility generation.

“Collaborating with a world-class research and test institution such as ORE Catapult’s MEECE places Bombora at a big advantage to capitalise on the floating offshore market opportunity. We are committed to driving innovation in the renewable energy sector and to making the advancements needed to benefit the environment and consumers.” said Chris Williams, Bombora’s Commercial Manager.

ERDF Wales

ORE Catapult has recently opened its Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE) in Pembroke Dock, South West Wales. MEECE aims to accelerate the growth of the UK supply chain in the offshore renewable energy sector, leading to increased jobs, productivity and exports. MEECE will work with Welsh Universities and with the Marine Energy Test Area, to deliver innovation projects on behalf of Welsh companies, to demonstrate, verify and validate new technologies.