Wave energy pioneer and University of Edinburgh startup Mocean Energy has raised £2.2 million in new equity alongside a £500,000 grant to drive the commercialisation of its wave energy technologies.
The equity funds come from existing investors including Equity Gap, Scottish Enterprise and Old College Capital, the University of Edinburgh’s venture investment fund, alongside new shareholders Norwegian impact investors Katapult Ocean and MOL PLUS, the corporate venture capital arm of listed Japanese shipping conglomerate MOL.
In addition, Mocean has secured a £499,500 Low Carbon Manufacturing Challenge Fund grant, targeted specifically at the detailed design, build and testing of key subsystems for their small-scale Blue Star wave energy machine.
The low carbon fund is administered by Scottish Enterprise and is part of Making Scotland’s Future, a partnership between the Scottish Government, public agencies, industry, and academia that aims to secure a strong, sustainable future for the country’s manufacturing businesses.
The new funds will help the Edinburgh and Aberdeen-based company commercialise and secure first orders for Blue Star which will be built in Scotland and is targeted at decarbonising subsea operations in the offshore energy sector.
It will also drive further research and development into their large-scale Blue Horizon technology, which was recently awarded £3.2 million by the EU-backed EuropeWave programme. Mocean plans to refine the Blue Horizon 250kW design ahead of the manufacture and deployment of a grid-connected machine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney as early as 2025.
Mocean Energy was co-founded in 2013 by Edinburgh PhD graduates Cameron McNatt (pictured above) and Chris Retzler, and was supported by Edinburgh Innovations when McNatt was studying for his PhD in Energy Systems, in the School of Engineering.
Managing director McNatt said:
This new equity investment is significant for Mocean Energy – not just in the quantum invested, but in the additional strengths and specialist expertise our new shareholders bring.
MOL has a global footprint in marine transport sector and MOL PLUS will help us access MOL Group’s significant resources and expertise to accelerate our commercialisation.
The coming years will be crucial to Mocean Energy, and as we scale up we need to take on board all of the learnings from our current Renewables for Subsea Power project and draw on the experience of our partners, our existing shareholders and our new investors. ”
Andrea Young, Head of Investment at Old College Capital, said:
Old College Capital is proud to continue investing in Mocean Energy, a company led by two co-founders who are both PhD graduates of the University of Edinburgh. Mocean Energy is already a pioneer in the wave energy market and we are excited to continue supporting the company as it accelerates towards commercialisation. ”
Jane Martin, Managing Director of Innovation and Investment at Scottish Enterprise, said:
This funding package is a great example of the public and private sectors working together to unlock investment in renewable energy.
The projects it supports are crucially important. One can completely transform the way power is provided to remote, energy intensive subsea equipment, while the other addresses the need for reliable, low-cost renewable energy at scale. Combined, they have the potential to play an important role in the internationally competitive green energy industry that’s emerging right here in Scotland. ”
Main image: The Mocean Energy team at the launch of their Blue X device in 2021