MPS has been awarded £12.8m of EU funds to support the manufacture and testing of a commercial scale, grid connected device. Following successful testing of a medium scale device, the investment will allow the company to develop a full-scale prototype, paving the way for the device to be launched on the market and sold around the world.
The Welsh Government has been working with Marine Power Systems for a number of years to support the development of our technology portfolio.
Announcing the £12.8m EU funding during a visit to the company, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We want Wales to be a leading player in the marine energy sector. This means supporting Welsh developers like Marine Power Systems; continuing to attract developers from around the world to Wales and exporting our knowledge, technology and services globally. This is a pioneering project and the investment allows the company to take a major step towards these goals. This is excellent news for the marine energy industry in Wales.”
MPS successfully concluded the programme of sea testing for its prototype device. The testing took place in Cornwall at the marine test site FaBTest over the last 12 months. The test results proved the functionality of the medium scale device across a range of sea states and – crucially – that it was able to generate zero-carbon electricity from ocean waves. The results paved the way for MPS to progress with the design, manufacture and testing of a full-scale commercial demonstrator.
The wrap-up of the device testing at FaBTest was a significant step forwards for MPS; the fundamental USP’s of the technology were demonstrated such as its inherent ease of transportation, deployment and maintenance; remote control operation, monitoring and communication systems; and importantly it was shown that the device could generate grid compliant electricity from ocean waves.
The MPS team furthermore showed expertise in successfully managing a project of significant complexity. The design, manufacture and commissioning of device was highly demanding, requiring the design, procurement and assembly of thousands of components from many dozens of suppliers. Securing consents, regulatory approvals and ensuring H&S compliance was a substantial project in its own right. Installation of the entire test site including moorings, cardinal marks, grid emulator buoy, power umbilical and the device was a considerable marine operation. The testing lasted a year and included troubleshooting and maintenance out at sea in often inclement weather conditions.
The knowledge accrued will be duly fed into our marine devices development and will be essential for reducing risks and ensuring a successful outcome.
The device was successfully deployed at the marine test centre FaBTest in Falmouth (England), marking a new phase of sea-based testing.
The device completed the 169 nautical mile tow from Milford Haven to the FaBTest site in under 30 hours. Towing at speeds of up to 6 knots, the successful tow proved key innovations of the technology, such as the device can be towed significant distances from a manufacturing base to a wave farm location.
The four-point mooring system was installed in less than three days, before connecting the device with the power umbilical and submerging the device to its operating configuration. Tow out of the device from Falmouth harbour to the site and connection to the mooring lines took only a few hours. The device demonstrated that it can easily be towed to site with low-cost vessels, it is simple to install and connect to a grid and that it can be accessed at sea; all of which will ultimately result in significantly lower operation & maintenance costs.
Ongoing device optimisation, through our highly sophisticated simulation capability, tank testing verification and cost of energy modelling accelerated the development of our technology portfolio to bring them to market readiness.
MPS were awarded a SMARTCymru grant to support this work.
MPS unveiled the medium scale prototype for which manufacture has been completed, along with shoreside commissioning, initial tow trials and submergence testing/remote operation of the device. This was a significant milestone for the quarter-scale prototype, marking its move to a new, sea-based phase of its development. The device was subsequently towed to the marine test site FaBTest in Cornwall, England.
Welsh Government Minister, Mark Drakeford made a keynote address, stating that the unveiling of the MPS prototype is a very exciting milestone for this sector in Wales. He confirmed that marine energy is a sector where Wales is well-placed to be a leading player, and that substantial long-term investments are being made to put Wales at the forefront of innovation in this field