UK firm Tugdock Limited has partnered up with Belgian construction firm Sarens to offer a novel dry dock solution to the fast-growing floating offshore wind industry.

Tugdock marine buoyancy bag technology

Source: Tugdock

Tugdock’s marine buoyancy bag technology allows floating dry docks to be delivered by road in modular form and assembled at the port

The partnership will allow Sarens to accelerate the use of Tugdock’s marine buoyancy bag solution for the build of turbine floaters to offshore wind developers across the world.

“Through this partnership with Tugdock, we are able to streamline the solution we offer to developers. By significantly reducing time and costs, our alliance will deliver a step change for wind turbine construction,” said Carl Sarens, director of technical solutions, projects & engineering at Sarens.

”In addition, Tugdock’s flexibility and reusability is useful to global developers as the units can be reused from one port or project to another regardless of changes in turbine size or foundation weight.”

Enhancing capacity

The floating offshore wind sector is expected to continue to grow rapidly. However, very few of the world’s ports have sufficient water depth and assembly quay space to build the huge turbine floaters required and conventional dry docks are not wide enough as they were originally designed for ships.

”Tugdock’s patented marine buoyancy bag technology solves this issue. It allows floating dry docks to be delivered by road in modular form and assembled at the port to dimensions far wider than most of the world’s existing dry docks,” said Lucas Lowe-Houghton, director of business development for Tugdock.

“Our submersible floating dry docks can operate with as little as five metres draft, enabling more efficient wind turbine floater construction. The platform is then towed to deeper water for launching of the turbines. More than 8% of the total cost of a floating offshore wind farm is accounted for by assembly and installation. So, any innovation that allows this process to be carried out more efficiently and quickly will have a big impact on profitability for developers.”

Floating offshore wind turbines are located in areas where there is deeper water and higher winds than fixed wind turbine structures, enabling them to generate higher levels of power.

This means they are expected to play a key role in the transition to net zero. Over 20 gigawatts of floating offshore wind power is expected to be commissioned globally by 2035, requiring over 2,600 wind turbines.