HydroWing Develops Servicing Barge for Tidal Energy Turbines

Quad Hull Barge design (Credit: HydroWing)
Quad Hull Barge design (Credit: HydroWing)

UK-based company HydroWing has designed an innovative new barge that aims to cut costs of installation and maintenance for its patented tidal stream array technology.

HydroWing technology features a wing system that 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 addition to the HydroWing system, which further increases productivity and drives down costs, according to the company.

Quad Hull Barge is made up four hulls connected by crossbeams and arch support beams, increasing the limit to load width. 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, according to Hydrowing.

This reduces offshore handling and makes the operation much safer, as the width of the load can be independent of the vessel width, the company claims.

“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.

“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,” said Richard Parkinson, Managing Director of Inyanga Marine Energy Group, which is the parent company for HydroWing.

The company has filed a patent application to protect the Quad Hull Barge design.

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