UK’s ORE Catapult breaks ground on two research facilities

WCN Editorial Team 7 Feb 2022 EUROPE ENERGY & UTILITIES

UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has broken ground on the construction of an offshore wind robotics centre and additive manufacturing cell facility at its National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth.

The two facilities will be utilised to conduct research on next-generation wind turbine blades.

ORE’s $4m (£3m) offshore wind robotics centre is backed by the UK Government’s Getting Building Fund, and the civil works will be carried out by Durham-based Halls Construction.

Once completed, the facility is said to be the first of its kind in the UK that is completely dedicated for offshore wind. It will allow robotic technology developers to access “representative, onshore and offshore test and demonstration environments”.

The new facility is also expected to increase robotics involvement in the safety, cost reduction and efficiency of offshore wind farm operations.

On the other hand, the additive manufacturing cell features a 3D printer and six-axis robot capable of carrying a payload of 165 kilograms.

The new technology will help ORE conduct research on new offshore wind turbine blade technology, materials and manufacturing techniques.

For the development of these technologies, ORE will collaboratively work with the industry and academia to further improve UK’s position in next-generation turbine blade research and development.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership is responsible for managing the $63m (£47m) funding that is awarded through Getting Building Fund to support capital investment across the North East.

ORE Test Facilities director Tony Quinn said: “These investments underline the Catapult’s commitment to supporting the UK’s rapidly growing offshore wind sector from Blyth, remaining at the forefront of technology development and research.

“This is crucial as projects to deploy the largest offshore wind turbines in the world gather pace, and so accelerating UK-led technology and research to market becomes a priority – and that’s a role Catapult will continue to play with its latest research and development assets.”

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The two facilities will be utilised to research next-generation wind turbine blades. Credit: tookapic from Pixabay.

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