Multi-use platforms at sea research
Marine South East hosted a workshop at Seawork 2018 to discuss the concept of multi-use platforms at sea (MUPS), explore their potential uses and business opportunities for the supply and value chains.
Jonathan Williams, CEO of Marine South East, opened the session by outlining the OPEC Project (Offshore Platforms for Energy Competitiveness), supported by Innovate UK under the Energy Catalyst programme, and how at feasibility stage the project is finding out whether it is technically and economically realistic to use floating infrastructure as a foundation for offshore energy.
Mr Williams said: “Offshore is expensive so the supply chain can collaborate for multiple use of MUPS to drive down costs."
He also talked about the ENTROPOLI Project, a blue technology project supported by the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund to identify the most attractive prototype deployment scenarios and operating business models. Wind and aquaculture is a priority use case, while priority value chain requirements include anchoring & mooring, surveillance and security, he explained.
“The focus is on building a strategic capacity now,” Mr Williams said.
Simon Cheeseman, sector lead, wave & tidal energy at Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, talked about duel fuel platforms (wind and wave) and floating power plants but said there was some scepticism about mixed energy use, while using MUPS in deeper water creates more technical challenges.
Despite the challenges, he stated the EU is pushing for MUPS, to use in island communities, for example.
What is realistic?
Speaking about engineering work concerning MUPS, Ian Dobson, associate director at Beckett Rankine, said an effort is being made to gain advantage out of economies of scale in building but said the marine industry must also look at whether shipyards are big enough to build MUPS and also the logistics of transportation – i.e. can they be towed as a complete unit.
Silvia Martin Imholz, R&D project manager at Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN), also talked about the project's work to test and speed up the introduction of new marine technologies.
By Rebecca Jeffrey
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