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Helping Reflex Marine develop an innovative anchoring solution for floating offshore wind

With an office in Truro, Cornwall, Reflex Marine have been in operation for over 25 years. They have built their reputation by designing safe, robust transfer systems for people and cargo. Industry leaders including BP, Shell, Chevron, Transocean and ConocoPhillips use their crane transfer carriers in many regions, from the Arctic to the tropics.

Building on their experience in marine engineering and in the offshore sector, Reflex Marine have now turned their attention to developing a new system for anchoring floating offshore wind (FLOW) installations. 

Their Chief Executive Officer, Philip Strong, explains:

“Mooring FLOW turbines cost-effectively and reliably presents a considerable challenge and one of significant commercial importance to the sector. The design of the anchor is key to developing cost effective moorings. 

“JAVELIN is an innovative concept which changes the paradigm for high performance moorings for floating offshore wind applications.  It is differentiated from existing mooring solutions in that the anchor is installed in a borehole deep below the seabed, in higher strength geological formations. It is then locked into the borehole using a novel technical solution. The JAVELIN concept makes use of established offshore drilling techniques to economically drill boreholes for the anchors.  Special deployment methodologies are also under development to reduce installation costs. 

“JAVELIN is particularly well suited for high angle loadings required for taut-line mooring systems. This will be key to allowing denser spacing of wind turbine generators, which is critical to field economics.

“This means JAVELIN will offer a reliable, low-cost anchor solution suitable for a wide range of water depths, seabed geologies and mooring system designs.”  

Reflex Marine engaged with the Marine-i project to gain valuable RD&I support in developing JAVELIN. They were supported by Marine-i partners ORE Catapult and University of Exeter. A structured research programme was developed which covered the following key areas:

  • Market value assessment
  • Assessment of likely site soil conditions
  • Assessment of likely mooring design / performance requirements
  • Mooring termination load modelling / soils interface modelling
  • Mooring termination material section
  • Physical system component testing at DMaC
  • Anchor performance testing – scale models, onshore / offshore

Simon Cheeseman of ORE Catapult, says:

“The JAVELIN system could have significant impact on FLOW development by providing a low-cost option for multiple installations in ‘traditional’ target FLOW locations. It would also deliver a solution for taut leg moorings supporting high-density turbine deployment. Furthermore, the use of compact lightweight mooring components would allow the deployment of smaller, less specialised installation vessels with lower fuel consumption and emissions. This in turn would reduce the pressure on port facilities.”

Prof Lars Johanning, Programme Director for Marine-i, says:

“Reflex Marine should be congratulated on their innovative approach. The JAVELIN system would attract interest from FLOW developers around the world and have a significant impact on the market. Most rival technologies were developed 30 years ago for the oil and gas sector, which was far less sensitive to the system costs, since moorings were deployed at a scale far smaller than will be required for FLOW. Reflex Marine have come up with a new solution that is geared to the specific needs of today’s FLOW operators.”

Philip adds:

“It is great having access to the specialist RD&I expertise that is available to us through the Marine-i project. This will help us develop and commercialise the JAVELIN concept at a much faster rate than might otherwise be possible.” 

[Image: Principle Power inc.]