iX challenge: Adaptable Fender Development
The Innovation Exchange programme is working alongside Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) to support OWA members to solve a wind farm access challenge. OWA members wish to engage innovators to find solutions for adaptable vessel bow fenders that allow for a single vessel to safely push to turbine boat landings that have varying geometries.
Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch their innovation the OWA and its members, representing around 75% of the offshore wind farm operators in Europe. Selected solution(s) may be trialled at member sites, with the possibility of further adoption if trials are successful.
The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) is Carbon Trust’s flagship collaborative RD&D programme. The initiative currently involves nine offshore wind developers; OWA partners account for around 75% of Europe’s installed offshore wind capacity.
Crew transfer vessels (CTVs) operating across multiple offshore wind farm sites are faced with different boat landing geometries at each respective site. This may result in a CTV not being able to access multiple sites without modifications to its bow fender configuration, which will impact the number of crew transfer operations that a CTV can safely undertake. As such, CTV operators are required to modify fender configurations for a respective site to allow them to safely push on against turbines to transfer personnel. If the crew of a CTV has to replace the fender when operating between sites, it may pose a health and safety risk, as well as an efficiency and cost issue.
G+ health and safety incident data in the offshore wind sector highlights that a key area of focus for the industry to improve is turbine access. Where the transfer of personnel between the CTV and the boat landing on the turbine platform represents a main risk.
The OWA Logistics and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) working group previously commissioned the Recommended Boat landing Geometry project to standardise boat landing geometries for offshore wind farms which are yet to be built. However, this does not address inconsistencies between sites which are currently operational. To address this issue, the working group wishes to explore the potential of adjustable fender solutions and their applicability to CTVs working for the offshore wind industry.
This challenge aims to identify potential and market ready adaptable fender solutions which will allow CTV’s to be able to operate at multiple wind farm sites without the need to modify the fender configuration between operations. Should a suitable vessel bow fender solution be found, it will be showcased to offshore wind site operators as well as vessel owners, representing a significant opportunity for the winning solution provider.