Mac is working at the ‘sharp end’ of device development in the offshore renewable energy sector. He is sponsored by Mocean, where he is exploring a ‘hybridisation’ concept for their wave energy converter (WEC). This involves the installation of photo-voltaic (PV) panels on the WEC to reduce the need for diesel back-up in off-grid and micro-grid locations, the likely early market for Mocean’s products.
Mac has been responsible for the design and installation of a six-panel PV array on the Mocean Blue X WEC that has completed an initial round of sea trials off Orkney. The WEC recently experienced a freak storm, which it withstood extremely well. Unfortunately, this storm removed one of the PV panels and destroyed Mac’s data acquisition equipment. He is now re-designing the system for further testing during the next deployment.
Although this is a very practical project, it is not without a need for strong analytical capability. Alongside the practical testing and data collection, Mac is modelling the energy yield from the panels as they move with the WEC.
Mac picked Mocean because they are a small company with ambitious and interesting goals. He also liked their ethos and working environment. Wave energy is a very challenging area to be in, which was another part of the appeal for Mac, and Mocean are progressing well, with good support for their innovative developments. They also clearly value their relationship with IDCORE. Mac is the second IDCORE student they have sponsored. They describe their first student as their ‘first employee’. Additionally, Mocean have just confirmed the hiring of a third IDCORE student, to begin work in summer 2022.
Mac grew up in Suffolk, often holidaying in Scotland which attracted him to the University of Edinburgh where his first degree was a joint Masters in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. He developed an interest in design and innovation and was president of a student society that was part of an international student competition to build a levitating magnet train. IDCORE felt like the perfect place for him to take these interests further, working at the forefront of engineering in the renewables sector.