Offshore wind turbines present one of the greatest opportunities to meet the global energy needs of the future. But before we can achieve this potential, scientists and engineers have had to overcome the challenges of the ocean’s rough waters and the logistical hurdles of transporting crews and equipment to offshore turbines.
The solution is the TranSPAR Craft. Developed by Peter Gifford with colleagues at Memorial University of Newfoundland, this self-propelled marine vessel can easily traverse choppy waters through waves reaching three meters high—more than twice the height that can be handled by current vessels.
The TranSPAR Craft derives its stability much as a submarine does—by keeping the centre of buoyancy above the centre of gravity. With the crew cabin raised above the water, the vessel’s centre of gravity is located deep under water by a keel, similar to that found on a sailboat.
Mr. Gifford’s team has created a spin-off company—ExtremeOcean Innovation Inc.—to commercialize the vehicle. The TranSPAR Craft will play a key role in increasing the serviceability of offshore wind turbine farms, and will help create jobs for technicians and engineers in the green energy industry.
Designed to help the United Kingdom meet their goal to achieve an installed offshore wind power generating capacity of up to 40 gigawatts by 2020, Mr. Gifford’s innovation was recognized by the UK Carbon Trust as one of 13 winners out of 450 applicants in their Offshore Wind Accelerator Access Competition.