The Carbon Trust is leading a collaboration of eight UK wind farm developers to reduce offshore wind costs. Its Offshore Wind Accelerator programme has now selected six final candidates for additional research funding:
Autobrow personnel transfer system, from Otso and designed by Ad Hoc Marine Designs. This works by having a gangway, or brow, connect to the turbine tower from the front of the boat, automatically controlled up and down to compensate for the heave and pitch of the vessel. The tower end of the brow automatically extends to ensure firm contact at all times.
TAS2 personnel transfer system, from BMT Nigel Gee and Houlder. This again allows engineers to access the turbine from a platform at the front of the boat. It uses a damped-roller system to absorb the variation in wave heights.
Nauti-craft. A vessel that uses a novel passive-reactive suspension system to support the deck above multiple hulls.
TranSPAR by ExtremeOcean. A boat with a small surface area and a fin keel arrangement similar to that found on high-performance sailing yachts, giving high stability.
Wavecraft Surface Effect Ship by Umoe Mandal. This adapts a design used by the Norwegian Navy that employs an air cushion, like a hovercraft, to minimise the disruption from waves. This is combined with a flat deck to allow easy transfer.
Launch and recovery system
LARS Boat Launch and Recovery System, by DIVEX
Uses the established ramp- recovery method, but in a way that allows it to be fitted on to a mothership and used in higher sea states. The boat incorporates an inclinable cradle with fast-action constant tension winch, which automatically synchronises the cradle/boat motion with the swell to avoid slap and snatch. It also uses an automatic bow latch that holds the boat securely in place during launch and recovery.