The Edinburgh startup has raised £612,000 in equity seed funding plus £250,000 from Innovate UK to advance the design of its Blue Star wave machine and drive its adoption in the subsea oil and gas sector.
Equity investment unlocks grant
Mocean Energy’s funding round was led by business angel syndicate Equity Gap and includes investment by Old College Capital, the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment fund managed by EI, and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.
The equity funding unlocks a further £250,000 from Innovate UK.
The company aims to produce a commercially available wave machine that can deliver low-carbon power for “tie-backs” – satellite wellheads connected to a main platform – and fleets of autonomous underwater vehicles.
“This is a really exciting company with real potential in the renewable energy sector.
“Mocean Energy’s work is strongly aligned with the University’s Climate Strategy, and we’re delighted to be investing in this technology.”
– Andrea Young, Fund Manager, Old College Capital.
EI’s startup support
Mocean Energy was co-founded in 2013 by Edinburgh PhD graduates Cameron McNatt and Chris Retzler, and was supported by EI’s student service when McNatt was studying for his PhD in Energy Systems.
McNatt and Retzler have built a 12-strong expert team adopting 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.”
– Cameron McNatt, Managing Director, Mocean Energy.
In 2019 Mocean Energy was awarded £3.3 million by Wave Energy Scotland to develop its technology for sea trials in Orkney. The device is currently being completed at AJS Fabrication at Cowdenbeath in Fife.
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 its Blue Star prototype to power a subsea battery and a remote underwater vehicle.
The new Innovate UK grant will enable the company to advance its 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 McNatt.