ocean energy

SME install’s world’s first subsea rock anchors at EMEC Orkney

Sustainable Marine Energy (SME) has successfully completed installation of four subsea drilled rock anchors at its berth at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), in preparation for the deployment of its PLAT-O tidal energy platform.
SME install’s world’s first subsea rock anchors at EMEC Orkney

The rock anchors have been installed in the challenging tidal flows of the Falls of Warness where they will be used to moor SME’s PLAT-O tidal energy platform. The installation is believed to be a world first and was successfully completed using the company’s Anchoring Remotely Operated Vehicle (AROV) which has been developed in-house over the past three years. Marine operations in support of the installation were performed from Leask Marine’s multicat C-Salvor.

The AROV first saw action in the Solent in 2014 installing helical screw piles into the clay seabed to moor PLAT-O for its initial Yarmouth trials. Since then the company has tackled two streams of technology development. The first of these involved an expanding rock anchor that requires no grout for installation, while the second integrated the required technology in the AROV package to enable remote installation at 30 plus metres of depth in an extreme tidal environment.

The 3.5 metre length anchors have a nominal holding capacity of 100 tons dependent on the type of the rock they are installed into. Building off this success, SME is now working to develop a range of anchors with even greater holding capacity and suitable for a range of substrates.

“We would like to acknowledge all of the support we have had throughout the delivery of our anchor project” said SME Managing Director Jason Hayman. “It has extended all the way from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Innovate UK down to our development partners Rockbit UK Ltd and Leask Marine who have gone out of their way to make everything possible.”

Mr Hayman went on to thank all the members of the SME team who have worked for long hours, sometimes in quite adverse conditions, throughout the development and testing programme of both the anchors and the AROV.

David Stoddart-Scott, Head of Project Development, added that SME is making great progress with the PLAT-O tidal energy platform and is also developing subsea anchoring solutions for rock and clay which the company will be offering to the marine industry as a whole. SME has already received a number of enquiries from a range of companies seeking to benefit from the innovative technology. Although it is in the early stages of development, SME believes that substantial cost savings will be possible over conventional gravity anchors, something it believes will be a tempting prospect to the marine energy and aquaculture industries. The company is expecting to perform its first customer deployment for a wave energy developer later this year.

For additional information:

Sustainable Marine Energy (SME)

European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)

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