MARLIN STAR project spearheads development of innovative floating renewable energy platform

Published 28 May 2020

A new project set to revolutionise local renewable energy generation, storage and use has been launched, led by Plymouth-based technology developer Frontier Technical Ltd.

The £1.4million MARLIN STAR project, funded by the Energy Catalyst programme, will progress the development and commercialisation of an innovative modular, floating renewable energy platform that will enable coastal community access to stored and transferable clean energy.

A UK-based consortium, led by Frontier Technical, will deliver the project, which has huge export potential to countries where remote off-grid coastal communities can benefit directly from local offshore renewable energy generation.

The platform will be capable of hosting a wind turbine with capacity up to 2MW, as well as onboard energy storage and transfer capabilities. Its controllable float modules fit into standard ISO shipping containers and assembly completed underwater without the need for large port infrastructure or heavy floating crane vessels.

The MARLIN modular floating platform is the patented invention of engineer Trevor Hardcastle. He said:

“Our intention is for the configurable MARLIN floating platform to be a UK innovation success story. We will apply UK research, technology and manufacturing expertise and export to countries in need of replacing fossil fuels and wood burning with cost-effective sustainable renewable energy that can be operated and maintained locally.’’

“I’m excited to see the Frontier Technical vision starting to take shape and look forward to working with our partners in the project.”

The UK consortium partners include the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, which will undertake market analysis and the mechanical testing, assembly and initial demonstration of the floating platform. Durham University’s Energy Institute (DEI) will carry out sociotechnical research in island communities in Bangladesh and India. Engineering services firm Francis Brown Ltd will progress offshore fabrication and Tension Technology International will be working on an innovative synthetic mooring and anchoring system, with Plymouth Marine Laboratory deploying and testing the platform offshore. The consortium will also be joined by India-based The Energy and Resources Institute, providing social science research in coastal communities in Gujarat state in India.

Stephen Robertson, ORE Catapult’s Head of Business Development, said:

“The MARLIN STAR project is a great example of UK ingenuity and collaboration, with huge potential as a floating wind solution for powering off-grid coastal communities. We are extremely pleased to be part of a consortium responding to the call of an international innovation challenge, especially as it reinforces the UK’s strengths in offshore renewable energy.”

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