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Wave power pioneers raise £850k to bring green power to subsea oil and gas

Wave power specialists Mocean Energy have secured major new investment to accelerate the commercialisation of their ground-breaking wave energy technology.

  • Mocean Energy raises over £600k equity plus £250k from Innovate UK
  • Plans to advance wave technology and commercialise in oil and gas
  • Equity investment from angel syndicate Equity Gap, Scottish Investment Bank and Old College Capital
  • Prototype test in Orkney early next year

The Edinburgh start-up has raised £612,000 equity seed funding plus £250,000 from Innovate UK to advance the design of their Blue Star wave machine [pictured] and drive its adoption in subsea oil and gas.

Mocean Energy’s funding round has been led by business angel syndicate Equity Gap and includes investment by Old College Capital, the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment fund, and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

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The equity funding unlocks a further £250,000 from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

“Our goal is to produce a commercially-available wave machine which can deliver low carbon power for tie backs and future fleets of autonomous AUVs [autonomous underwater vehicles],” explains Mocean Energy Managing Director Cameron McNatt.

To do this, McNatt has worked alongside company co-founder Chris Retzler [pictured] to build a 12-strong expert team adopting cutting-edge thinking in using numerical modelling coupled with AI-optimisation to design their state-of-the-art wave machine.

“Blue Star has been created from first principles to operate autonomously in remote locations and deliver green energy for a range of applications – including scientific ocean monitoring, aquaculture, oil and gas, and delivering energy to remote communities.

“We are currently working with firms in the Scottish supply chain to build and deliver our first prototype, which will commence testing at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney next year.

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“The Innovate UK grant will enable us to advance our engineering design, including a new power take off, moorings and umbilical, and will deliver additional grant support to our project partners Newcastle University’s Electrical Power Research Group and  Rosyth-based electronics-specialists Supply Design.

“The equity funding is a tremendous boost and underscores our ambition to deliver a commercial product. As well as supporting our technology development pathway, this will allow us to create two new full-time posts which will bring an increased focus on finding the right kind of industry partners to drive our commercialisation goals. Crucially, it also brings on board three new non-executive board members who bring a wealth of experience to help us deliver our vision,” Cameron says. 

Fraser Lusty, Director, Equity Gap said:

“Mocean Energy has an exciting technology backed by some very sound science and ideally placed to help the oil and gas sector decarbonise its operations, with other worldwide applications to follow. This funding allows them to broaden their team and seek well-aligned commercial partners who can bring offshore experience to accelerate their ambitious plans.”

Kerry Sharp, Director of the Scottish Investment Bank said:

“Bold and ambitious low carbon technology companies like Mocean Energy are fundamental to Scotland’s transition to a net-zero emission economy. This latest injection of funding, alongside the significant Innovate UK funding, will allow the team at Mocean to move ever closer to fully commercialising their ground-breaking wave power technology.”

Earlier this year Mocean Energy announced a pilot project with the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), oil major Chrysaor and subsea specialists EC-OG and Modus to study the potential to use their Blue Star prototype to power a subsea battery and a remote underwater vehicle.

Last year, Mocean Energy secured £3.3 million from Wave Energy Scotland to build and test a half-scale version of their technology at sea. The device is currently being completed at AJS Fabrication at Cowdenbeath in Fife.

TheScottish Investment Bank

The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) is the investment arm of Scotland’s national economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, operating Scotland-wide in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE). SIB’s activities support Scotland’s SME funding market to ensure businesses with growth and export potential have adequate access to growth capital and loan funding. We help ambitious Scottish companies get the right levels of funding from the right sources at the right time through building relationships with both domestic and international investors. 

SIB manages a suite of co-investment funds including the Scottish Co-investment Fund, the Scottish Venture Fund and the Energy Investment Fund  on behalf of the Scottish Government. SIB is an investor in Epidarex Capital’s Life Sciences Fund. SIB also administer the Scottish Loan Scheme, with funding secured from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Growth Scheme. SIB are delivering the Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government as part of their response to COVID-19.

SIB  also provides funding into LendingCrowd, Scotland’s marketplace lender providing loans to SMEs, and Maven's UK Regional Buy Out Fund (MBO) that offers financial support for management buyouts (MBOs) and helps existing management teams acquire their businesses from their owners so they can continue to flourish. SIB’s team of financial readiness specialists help companies to prepare for new investment and access appropriate finance.