Manor Renewable Energy Ltd (MRE) Manor Renewable Energy was awarded the highest grant from the £6m SCORE fund towards research for a £4million sister vessel to its one-year-old Manor Venture, currently working for Siemens on the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm.
The 26-metre vessel was designed by naval architect James Walker, Walker Marine Design, to spend prolonged time offshore with large “ship style” cabins, office space for clients and mess rooms for technicians and engineers.
Its maiden contract supporting Siemens’ work on the Galloper wind farm off the UK’s east coast, refuelling and maintenance of all of the 56 116 KVA generators on the 56 turbines.
Mr Walker will design a new vessel over the next year to service the new generation of offshore wind farms alongside the growth of Manor Renewable Energy’s business in the East of England.
David Burrows, Business Development Manager, said the SCORE grant provided the “right support for us at the right time.” It will help fund research with wind farm operators and developers to find out what features, design and capability a second vessel would need to save more time on projects, therefore saving costs. Minimising transfer times in and out to sea is paramount as is reducing the number of times personnel have to climb the towers, he said.
“The Manor Venture has been brilliant and innovative in itself, but we are now looking at how we can increase its lifting capacity with different types of cranes and winches but without having to use a DP (dynamic positioning) vessel, which is very costly if not necessary. Things we are looking to introduce include more comfortable motions on board with comfortable cabin space so people can stay for much longer periods offshore, catering personnel permanently on board, day and night shifts incorporating new technologies that aren’t seen in conventional Crew Vessels.
“Our SCORE grant will contribute to developing what operators want, the facilities, capability and features of the “Our future. There are huge opportunities for people who can get out there and grab it. The grant process was simple and straightforward.”
“Our pitch is about staying out at sea longer but we are also looking to find out what else we do when we’re out there, such as remedial work, operations and maintenance, seafastening design and fabrication, bolting and tensioning works.”
The Manor Venture, built in 2016, is fitted with six double cabins above deck to allow technicians to stay out at sea, reducing fuel costs and giving the techs more time up the towers. It is a real USP for us, helping our clients limit their downtime.”
The vessel, estimated to cost between £3-4million, would be built, like the Manor Venture, at their vessel construction yard in Portland on the south coast. Both vessels will be able to work anywhere in Europe.
Rob Bush, SCORE programme manager, said researching operator’s future needs, as offshore wind farms moved into and beyond operational stages, was an ideal use for a SCORE grant.
“This industry is all about saving costs. Offshore wind farms need to be managed in the cost efficient way long-term, as well as at construction stage. To use a SCORE grant to talk to operators about features needed and come up with a new design of vessel to effect that is what SCORE is all about – shaping the future of offshore wind off the east coast.”
SCORE offers grants to help companies across England to develop new products, processes and ideas which bring economic benefit to the East of England.
Grants are available to start-up and established companies for up to 40% of eligible costs or £50,000, whichever is the lower, with a minimum grant of £2,500.
The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is open to companies with fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than 50 million euros.
The funding is designed to help companies in a wide range of areas, including research and development, collaboration with universities and research bodies, securing patents, acquiring specialist equipment or services and investigating the commercial viability of processes and technologies.
Companies can also access up to 12hrs of subsidised business support from regional enterprise agency Nwes to help grow and develop their business.
The current programme is delivered by OrbisEnergy in partnership with enterprise specialists Nwes, energy industry experts Nautilus Associates and the national Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult centre.