Old College Capital investment helps put wind in Mocean Energy sails

A Blue-X wave machine after its tests
 
03 Mar 2022

Old College Capital (OCC) has joined a £730,000 investment in Mocean Energy to accelerate the commercial roll-out of the company’s ground-breaking wave energy technology.

The equity funding has been raised for the Edinburgh startup from existing funders, led by angel syndicate Equity Gap and in partnership with OCC, the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment fund managed by Edinburgh Innovations, and Scottish Enterprise.

The new funds will enable Mocean to advance the design of its next-generation Blue Star wave machine and drive its adoption in subsea oil and gas.

Mocean Energy was co-founded in 2013 by Edinburgh PhD graduates Cameron McNatt and Chris Retzler, and was supported by EI when McNatt was studying for his PhD in Energy Systems.

Andrea Young, Fund Manager at Old College Capital, said:

Company founders Chris and Cameron are both PhD graduates of the University of Edinburgh, and we’re delighted they’re making such a powerful contribution to the green energy agenda that is important to the University. We’re constantly impressed by Mocean Energy’s management team as they progress towards full commercial operations, and we’re proud to be investing again in this technology.

Swell success

The new funding injection follows an £862,000 seed raise which completed in 2020, comprising £612,000 equity funding that included an initial OCC investment, plus a £250,000 grant from Innovate UK, the UK Government’s innovation agency.

Mocean Energy Co-Founder and Managing Director Cameron McNatt said:

The equity funding is a tremendous boost and will allow us to accelerate our product roll out. This year we’ll start fabricating Blue Star 10 – a 10 kW machine based around the Blue X design which will begin commercial trails in 2023. In parallel we are developing our next-generation Blue Star 20, a 20 kW machine based on a new optimised geometry, which will include solar panels and a novel direct drive generator, with trials and rollout targeted for 2024-25.

Both new products are aimed at opportunities in the oil and gas energy transition, defence, offshore wind, and ocean science markets where they can be used to provide power to remote subsea equipment, robotics, and monitoring systems. The company has received increasing interest from the oil and gas sector, necessitating the opening of a dedicated office in Aberdeen in order to meet customer demand, whilst the company’s staff complement has grown to 17.

Diagram showing subsea elements of the Blue Star system

Next wave

An investment of £3.3 million from Wave Energy Scotland made it possible for Mocean to successfully trial its Blue X prototype at sea at the European Wave Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney last year. Now the company is collaborating with partners Verlume, Harbour Energy and Baker Hughes, with funding from NZTC, to advance a demonstrator project called Renewables for Subsea Power to show how their technology can be coupled with underwater energy storage to provide reliable low carbon power to subsea equipment and autonomous underwater vehicles. The partners plan to test their system at sea later this year.

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