Freelance engineer Mike Curnow has traded as Ocean Hydraulics since 2003. As a sub-contractor to companies such as Large Diameter Drilling and Geoquip, he has developed and engineered a wide number of innovative products for the offshore sub-seabed site investigation and construction industries. Ocean Hydraulics has recently sold a design for a heave compensated lifting link to Dimension Pte, a Singapore based company.
Mike has now identified an opportunity in the global offshore renewables market -a new way of anchoring sea bed foundation piles- which has received grant funding via the Rapid Innovation Grants scheme.
The SVB (Submersible Vertical Borer) is a revolutionary alternative to the current method of offshore and nearshore pile drilling. All offshore wind farms are anchored to the sea bed in a way that involves construction of the wind turbine on monopiles drilled a minimum of 20 meters into subsea rock sockets. Experience on such engineering projects lead Mike to come up with a different approach – drilling down from the bottom of the pile rather than from the top.
This alternative concept and drilling method would potentially cost less to produce and operate as well as improve safety and stability.
In order to move the project to the next level, Mike needed to produce an animated video that explained the concept in a way that could attract further investment.
Mike says: “The £2000 Rapid Innovation Grant from the Marine Challenge Fund has been a significant contribution towards the cost and allowed me to kickstart the project. The animated video has enabled me to sell the concept and get development underway.”
As a result, Ocean Hydraulics is now working in partnership with Armada Engineering and a five- man design team is drawing up detailed designs for the product.
Mike adds: “We now expect to have a working prototype ready to go to sea within a year and full commercialisation within two years. The support has been invaluable in helping us accelerate our innovation.”
Photo Credit: Orsted (photo shows Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm on the west coast of the UK)