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ORE Catapult’s new marine test buoy in Wales hosts first technology trial

Published 10 May 2022

Grafmarine has installed its NanoDeck technology on ORE Catapult’s marine test asset in Milford Haven Waterway, deployed last month.

Grafmarine is the first Welsh innovator set to benefit from a new research buoy deployed by the Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE), part of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

The buoy provides a unique test and demonstration facility within the Marine Energy Test Area (META) in Pembrokeshire, allowing new marine products and services to be developed at minimal cost and risk to companies.

In April 2022, Grafmarine installed its modular tile-based product, NanoDeck – which can generate, store and intelligently manage solar power – on ORE Catapult’s test buoy. It’s the first time the technology has been tested in a real-world marine environment, advancing its journey to commercialisation.

Data will be captured from the buoy and the NanoDeck prototype to assess its performance and durability, supporting Grafmarine in increasing the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the product from 6 to 7.

Demonstrating on the MEECE test buoy enables Grafmarine to showcase how the NanoDeck, initially targeted at the shipping sector, can be applied to the burgeoning offshore renewable energy market.

The deployment of the marine test buoy marks a key milestone for ORE Catapult’s activities in Wales as it allows MEECE to enhance its offering to the Welsh marine and offshore renewable energy sectors. MEECE is working to put Wales and Welsh companies at the heart of the UK’s growing marine and offshore wind sectors, ensuring they play a vital role in tackling global climate change and decarbonising our energy needs, as well as grasping the huge economic opportunities on offer from the growth of the industry.

MEECE, based at Pembroke Dock, is a multi-million-pound collaboration between ORE Catapult and four Welsh Universities:  Swansea University, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Bangor University and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government and Swansea Bay City Deal.

Paul Ellsmore, Programme Manager for MEECE at ORE Catapult said:

“We’re thrilled to have such an innovative company like Grafmarine be the first to demonstrate its technology on our new marine test buoy. This is exactly why MEECE was established in the first place, to work with local universities, industry bodies and the local supply chain to support pioneering companies in Wales develop new products, processes and services for the offshore renewable energy sector.”

Nigel Marc Roberts, Chief Commercial Officer Grafmarine, said:

All the Grafmarine team would like to thank everyone at MEECE for their excellent technical support, understanding and service. The opportunity to collaborate on the ORE Catapult test buoy has greatly helped us to complete our first-stage sea trials of our NanoDeck clean energy integrated power management, generation, and storage solution. Allowing us to fast track our commercialisation process.”

With the buoy now deployed, and further projects lined up for testing, including Intelligent Mooring’s mooring damper for floating wind, ORE Catapult is asking innovative companies in Wales with ground-breaking concepts to come and work with the MEECE team to help commercialise their technologies. For more information and to get in touch, contact meece@ore.catapult.org.uk