HydroWing has designed an innovative new barge which will help drive down the cost of installation and maintenance for its patented tidal stream array technology.
HydroWing is designed to be a cost-effective and scalable solution to tidal stream energy generation and was the largest tidal stream project in Wales to be successful in the UK government’s latest Contracts for Difference round, having been awarded a 10MW project at the Morlais tidal energy site in Anglesey.
Commercialisation of the tidal energy sector has so far been held back by high operations and maintenance costs. HydroWing’s next generation technology addresses that challenge head on. Its HydroWing technology offers a modular, reliable solution, based on its unique patented design. The wing system streamlines operations and maintenance by allowing for removal of sets of tidal energy turbines without the need to remove or work on the foundations. The new Quad Hull Barge is the latest innovation to the HydroWing system, which further increases productivity and drives down costs.
Richard Parkinson, MD of Inyanga Marine Energy Group, which is the parent company for HydroWing, said: “Deployment, recovery, and operations and maintenance are large factors in determining the levelized cost of electricity. However, offshore construction vessel availability is very weak with expensive day rates. This means that the cost of planned and unplanned offshore operations is very high. HydroWing’s new Quad Hull Barge has been specifically designed to tackle this issue, driving down costs and ensuring the turbines can be effectively maintained at low cost and with reduced downtime.
“By using four hulls connected by crossbeams and arch support beams, the limit to load width is dramatically increased. Where commercial vessels would typically need to place the load onto the deck with little to no overhang of the load, the Quad Hull Barge locks the load after lifting to the arch. This reduces offshore handling and makes the operation much safer. It means that the width of the load can be independent of the vessel width.
“Our new Quad Hull Barge represents a major leap forward for the sector. The design ticks all the important boxes for offshore operators. It is modular, so it can be transported by road and assembled at site. As it is modular, it can also easily be scaled up for larger turbines. The four pontoons are 25 tonnes each and can be transported by road, which reduces manufacturing costs. It is low drag and easier to tow and can therefore be handled by small, locally available tugs. All of these factors will help to lower the cost of each intervention. In addition, it is on permanent standby and can be deployed quickly, which will help operators to reduce production downtime.
“The Quad Hull Barge will mean that our HydroWing tidal energy arrays can be serviced by existing port infrastructure, rather than requiring major new investment, which is one of the keys to ensuring that the sector achieves profitable growth into the future. We believe our HydroWing technology will unlock the commercial potential of tidal energy worldwide.”
The company has filed a patent application to protect its unique Quad Hull Barge design.