Wave energy-powered buoy set for North Sea field trial
According to the Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), which is supporting the system development with Premier, it will be the first-of-its-kind deployment in the North Sea involving a moored buoy capturing power from the motion of ocean waves to allow it to provide monitoring capabilities and protect subsea architecture.
The buoy is designed to serve as an uninterruptible power supply that constantly recharges itself using wave energy and operates in ocean depths from 20 m (66 ft).
This energy is harnessed to power on-board sensors (or even those on the seabed), allowing real-time data transfer and communication with remote facilities. And due to its ability to store energy, it can also operate during periods of calm seas. During the field trial, the PB3 will be assist Premier’s planning for decommissioning of Huntington. But according to the OGTC, the technology could also be paired with different payload configurations to support small field developments or deployed as a charging/communications hub for autonomous underwater vehicle applications.
Paul Williams, UK business unit manager at Premier, said: “This is a great opportunity to prove new technology which will enable us to minimize the environmental impact of our decommissioning programs, whilst maintaining flexibility to deliver maximum economic recovery from our fields.
“Assuming success, we will look at the potential to deploy this technology on other assets and for different purposes, both in the UK and further afield.”