Five innovative companies in the North East of England have been selected to turbo boost their technology and fast track their route to market through the Technology, Innovation and Green Growth for Offshore Renewables (TIGGOR) programme from the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.
Kinewell Energy, Pulcea Ltd, Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD), Walker Subsea and Acuity Robotics attended the TIGGOR launch event at ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth today (Wednesday) after being chosen to each receive a share of £1.2 million through the one-year programme, funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA).
Magnus Willett, Programme Manager for the TIGGOR programme at ORE Catapult, said: “The TIGGOR programme will support companies within the North of Tyne area to de-risk and accelerate their technology, and boost the local offshore renewable energy supply chain. Crucially it provides an opportunity for these businesses to demonstrate their technology to our commercial partners, Equinor and EDF Renewables, receive business support designed specifically for the offshore renewables market, and encourage academic engagement – increasing their chances of success in this multi-billion pound industry.”
Speaking at the TIGGOR launch event, North of Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll, said: “How can we give people energy security, push bills down and keep homes warm? As Bob Dylan once said, the answer is blowin’ in the wind.
“With our engineering heritage and north sea coastline, we are leading the revolution in offshore renewable energy. Our investment will support some of the world’s leading innovators in subsea robots and green technology. This will help create well-paid jobs and boost the supply chain. Cheaper bills, thriving industries and more jobs – this is the Green New Deal in action.”
Councillor Richard Wearmouth, North of Tyne Combined Authority portfolio holder for Clean Energy and Connectivity, added: “We’re delighted to see this part of Northumberland cementing its reputation at the cutting edge of renewable technology.
“The TIGGOR programme has already created scores of new jobs and traineeships and supported nearly 50 businesses. We wish the latest companies to benefit every success and look forward to watching their progress.”
This will be round two of the TIGGOR programme (TIGGOR 2) following the first phase in 2021 that created 22 new jobs, 11 new traineeships and introduced 10 unique products onto the market, including digital twin software for wind farm projects and turbine monitoring sensors. It directly supported nine North East England companies and supported a further 44 businesses through a variety of support programmes. To date, TIGGOR has generated an estimated £4.4 million for the UK economy and is forecast to create a total of 118 jobs over the next five years.
The five TIGGOR 2 companies will develop unique offshore renewable energy solutions over the next year that will further benefit the UK offshore renewable market and wider global industry.
Ian Armstrong, Managing Director of Blyth-based Pulcea, said: “TIGGOR 2 funding is already proving to be a game changer for Pulcea. Amongst other benefits it is facilitating timely access to the Catapult’s superb test facilities, where we can refine our technology whilst also having it independently verified as to its effectiveness in reducing the impact of the underwater noise produced during the construction phase of offshore wind farms.
“Innovative technology is of no benefit to the environment or to the UK, and global economy unless it can be developed and delivered at commercial scale. TIGGOR is providing the resources to enable Pulcea to do just that.”
Vahid Walker, Technical Director at Newcastle-based Walker Subsea Engineering, added: “Our region has a rich maritime tradition, and an exceptionally strong automotive engineering cluster. In combination, we have the opportunity to deliver cross-sector innovation to shape the future of the offshore construction industry.
“For Walker Subsea Engineering, the TIGGOR 2 project allows us to build on the success of the Subsea A-Flux, with a 1000m rated 400V battery pack. The project has enabled us to hire talented graduates and puts us in a strong position for growth in 2024.”
As part of TIGGOR 2, the companies will demonstrate their technologies to offshore wind giants Equinor, operator of the world’s largest offshore wind farm Dogger Bank Wind Farm, and EDF Renewables, operator of the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator wind farm.
Andrew Saunders, Dogger Bank Prepare for Operations Manager at Equinor, said: “Innovation is key to succeed in achieving the UK’s Net Zero and Energy Security targets. Equinor, as the Operator of Dogger Bank is delighted to continue to support the TIGGOR programme as a technical advisor, working with innovative businesses in the local region to further develop their products to the renewables market and ensuring the creation and supporting of local jobs. Congratulations to the successful companies coming into the programme, and we hope to add to the success stories we had with TIGGOR phase 1!”
Over the course of the programme, Equinor and EDF Renewables will also provide technology assessment and advice on how technologies can be applied to offshore wind. ORE Catapult will also offer business support and access to test and demonstration facilities at its National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth.