The aim is to solve the problem of transferring engineers and equipment safely from boats to offshore wind turbines in up to 3 m significant waves. The OWA access competition is part of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator.
More entrants wanted
The registrations include more than 300 from the UK, 120 from North America and 110 from continental Europe including 35 from Norway.
Companies from the oil and gas, ship building, marine engineering and aerospace industries have registered alongside a number of universities.
With only two weeks to go until the application deadline, however, the Carbon Trust is still calling for more entries with a specific focus on organisations from South East Asia.
Phil de Villiers says: “We’ve had a terrific response from companies based in the Europe and North America. However, we believe there may be technologies from the oil and gas sector in South East Asia that could be applicable to the offshore wind market. In these regions transfers from marine vessels to oil and gas platforms are far more common than in Europe or the US where helicopters are normally used.
“The competition is looking for the very best ideas from around the world to help drive forward the UK’s offshore wind industry and we are encouraging more organisations to put their ideas forward before the competition deadline closes on 26 November”.
Nepal part of contest
He adds: “We’ve already seen some very credible and innovative ideas submitted and the breadth of interest has been staggering. We’ve even had an entry from Nepal, a land-locked country not well-known for its maritime engineering industry.”
£100,000 in support per successful project
The successful applicants to the offshore wind turbine access competition will benefit from funding of up to £100,000 per concept to support the design and development of the successful concepts; the opportunity to work with 8 offshore wind developers with licences to develop the UK Round 3, and potentially several million pounds of funding to take the concepts to full-scale demonstration.
The competition focuses on:
- Transfer systems – To transfer personnel and equipment from vessel to offshore wind turbine, potentially with motion-compensation;
- Vessels – Vessels for transporting personnel and equipment from permanent bases or mother-vessels to offshore wind turbines, incorporating a transfer system;
- Launch and recovery systems – Systems fitted to the permanent bases or mother-vessels for launching and recovering daughter-vessels from the sea.