Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Sustainable Marine anchors future of offshore renewable energy with launch of Swift Anchors and next -gen rock anchor installation system

Blue economy solutions provider Sustainable Marine is unveiling its next-gen remotely operated rock anchor installation system at Wind Energy Hamburg 2022.

The novel system, dubbed AROV2, is the culmination of a decade of research, development and demonstration into direct embedment anchors drilled into the seabed.

It will form a key asset for Sustainable Marine’s new ‘Swift Anchors’ division, which offers a broad range of solutions to facilitate faster and more cost-effective mooring installations for the offshore renewables sector, including floating wind.

Swift Anchors’ technology has been informed by Sustainable Marine’s vast experience deploying its own brand of floating tidal energy platforms. It has further benefited from Scotland’s world-class offshore expertise, including extensive underwater robotics, initially developed for the region’s oil and gas sector and now supporting the marine renewables movement.

AROV2 was assembled by Brimmond Group, in Kintore, with the control system and hydraulics module supplied by world-leading subsea engineering specialist SMD. Falkirk’s Outreach Offshore supplied the integrated control cabin and umbilical winch, and Dales Engineering Services, from Peterhead, supported with fabrication work.

The next-gen system is capable of installing Swift Anchors’ full range of anchor solutions including large helical screw anchors in sand, shingle and clay; rock anchors into a range of rocks and grouted piles for mixed seabed geologies. Typically, the rock anchors will provide an alternative to drag embedment and gravity anchors for floating wind in areas with rocky seabeds.

It consists of a control cabin and constant tension umbilical winch which is integrated into a 20’ container. The remotely operated machine features a 150kW subsea HPU enabling operation at depths of circa 200m, with the ability to extend up to 1,000m simply by using a longer electrical and control umbilical if required.

Swift Anchors Managing Director David Ainsworth said the operation is poised to support the anticipated lift-off in floating wind, with more than 15GW of installed capacity expected by 2030, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

“Swift Anchors is officially open for business after successfully completing FAT (Factory Acceptance Testing) for our next-gen anchor installation system,” said Mr Ainsworth. “The system has been designed with capability expansion in mind for longer and larger anchors to support the massive future opportunity in floating offshore wind. It can install anchors with more than a thousand tonnes of holding capacity, addressing the requirements for floating wind for the next decade. We are hugely grateful to our supply chain who have been instrumental in the completing this milestone, and we will now press on to demonstrate the system in use using Sustainable Marine Canada’s vessel, the Tidal Pioneer, in Nova Scotia, installing anchors to moor the firm’s floating tidal energy platforms at the highly energetic FORCE demonstration site. It will then be used to install anchors for ORPC’s TidGen deployment in Maine, USA.”

Sustainable Marine CEO Jason Hayman said: “This is another exciting milestone in Sustainable Marine’s journey, as we continue to develop technologies that can help to unlock the full potential of renewable energy deployments in the marine environment. Swift Anchors will provide solutions, not only for the tidal energy industry, but will help enable the development of a truly sustainable blue economy, by opening up opportunities for developers to deploy systems in a wider range of sites. Our first tidal energy clients will benefit from the use of this technology later this year, and we are look forward to helping shape the next tranche of floating wind projects being deployed in Scottish waters and beyond.”

Brimmond Group Engineering Director Tom Murdoch said: “This was a terrific opportunity to help construct a truly novel device improving a notoriously challenging operation for the maritime sector at large. It’s been a rewarding project from the Brimmond team, and we look forward to further collaboration with Sustainable Marine and the Swift Anchors team in the future.”

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Swift Anchors

As part of the overall technical challenge to deliver low-cost technical solutions for tidal energy, Sustainable Marine has developed a range of anchors for various seabed conditions, including helical screw piles, self-drilling grouted piles and grout fee rock anchors.

Swift Anchors’ next-gen system has been developed to install all of these anchor types and to undertake seabed core geotechnical surveys. The technology can be scaled down for lower holding capacity anchor applications or increased in size for the global floating wind sector.

Direct embedment anchors have several significant benefits over conventional drag embedment or gravity anchors:

·       High holding capacity per tonne of anchor, at between 150-400 tonnes holding capacity per tonne of anchor they are much lighter and therefore have a much lower carbon footprint than conventional anchors

·       The anchors can be optimised for a mix or vertical and lateral load forces, allowing for semi taught or taught moorings which will then significantly reduced the cost of the mooring components (between 30% for semi taught catenaries and 70% for tension leg platforms)

·       Rapid installation, typically anchors will take from 25 minutes to installed (depending on rock hardness and anchor length)

·       Smaller vessels, the installation equipment takes up the footprint of two 20ft ISO containers on deck, and the anchors can be stacked on deck, any additional deck space will be used for storing anchors reducing to number of times the vessel has to return to port to collect anchors

·       Much lower carbon footprint, lower anchor mass, rapid deployment, lower mooring chain length and fewer returns to port for replenishing all lead to a significant reduction in the project carbon footprint.

Sustainable Marine

Sustainable Marine is an innovative marine solutions provider empowering the development of a sustainable blue economy. Our mission is to help coastal and tidal communities achieve energy independence and fight climate change by harvesting clean energy from the waters around them, creating transformational socio-economic benefits. We specialise in the development of modular platforms, mooring and anchoring solutions for marine renewable energy, floating wind and nearshore structures. Our broader turnkey project support services include naval architecture, site assessment and selection, front-end engineering and design, mooring and station-keeping, floating structure design and construction, hydrokinetic power systems, and the development of logistics, installation, operational, environmental monitoring and performance monitoring solutions. Sustainable Marine’s world-class team of engineers and innovators work from offices across the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada. To learn more visit

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