DECC grant for OSBIT Power to develop future offshore access technology

Innovative North-East engineering company OSBIT Power (OP) has been awarded a £615,000 grant to help develop its MaXccess offshore wind access technology. MaXccess access systems facilitate safer personnel transfer from large vessels to wind turbine platforms.

The funding award is being made under DECC and the Technology Strategy Board’s Offshore Wind Component Technologies Development and Demonstration Scheme. The scheme aims to support innovative companies in developing new technologies which will reduce costs in offshore wind energy, and increase deployment levels by 2020.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “The coalition is determined to drive ambitious green growth and this is putting our money where our mouth is. This cash shows we are delivering on our commitment to support innovation and offshore wind. Making wind turbines more efficient is common sense. It will help bring down costs, making them more attractive to build and helping us increase the amount of electricity we get from clean, green sources. It’s great to see OSBIT Power stepping up to the challenge and helping to ensure that offshore wind energy is produced in the most cost-effective way”

Dr Tony Trapp, CEO of OSBIT Power comments: “We established OP in 2010 with the aim of creating a step change in offshore access technologies. During the subsequent 18 months, our experienced team of engineers developed the MaXccess 11 system to solve the current challenge of gaining safer, more weather tolerant, access from the existing fleet of access vessels. Following a thorough development programme, the first MaXccess 11 system was produced in summer 2011. This system has recently been successfully trialled offshore in Norway, in conjunction with Siemens Wind Power and Statoil.

For future offshore wind projects, larger vessels will need to operate further from shore, in more difficult sea conditions. To meet the challenge of gaining access to turbines from these vessels, OP is developing MaXccess ‐ Heavy Boat System (HBS). MaXccess HBS builds on the technology developed in the current MaXccess system, allowing operation from vessels that are too large to contact turbines directly.”

Dr Trapp continues: “There is a clear need to reduce costs and increase safety in offshore wind. We are delighted with the award of funding from the Offshore Wind Development and Demonstration scheme, which recognises both OP’s abilities, and the need to develop technology to meet accessibility challenges in future projects. North East England has a strong heritage in offshore wind technology, and this funding will strengthen our ability to bring this exciting product to market. It will also accelerate the development of MaXccess HBS.”