Fife fabrication firm AJS Production has returned to work to complete a 30-tonne wave machine which will take to the seas this year.
The Cowdenbeath steelwork specialist has split their eight-strong team to comply with Covid rules and allow them to forge ahead with the fabrication of the 20-metre long Blue Star wave energy converter, designed by Edinburgh start-up Mocean Energy.
The half-scale device will be deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney for sea trials prior to generating first power next year.
Raymond Imrie, managing director at AJS Production Ltd said: “We’ve split our workforce into two teams, each working 12 hour shifts three days a week.
“One team does Monday, Wednesday, Friday, the other Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. This means we can operate at nearly 90 percent capacity.
“We’ve just received new monitors which vibrate if workers come within two metres of each other, and we’re splitting breaks to ensure everyone keeps their distance. There is only one of our workers – who is 73 – still on furlough, but we hope he will be back soon.
“It’s really important we keep up with this work for Mocean Energy and continue with other contracts we have in the marine renewable energy sector,” Mr Imrie said.
The programme is supported by £3.3 million from Wave Energy Scotland through their Novel Wave Energy Converter programme.
Earlier this year. Mocean Energy announced a pilot project with oil major Chrysaor and subsea specialists EC-OG and Modus to study the potential to use the Blue Star prototype to power a subsea battery and a remote underwater vehicle at the Orkney site.
Mocean Energy managing director Cameron McNatt said: “Our nacelle is now nearing completion and has gone to the paint shop, so the AJS team is now working on the main hull.
“We are looking ahead to seeing the whole device being completed and transporting it up to Orkney.
“Clearly we recognise the restrictions in place, and our focus is on doing what we can now, whilst being ready to move forward as soon as regulations allow.”