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Innovation Challenges

Solving these technology innovation challenges will help drive down the cost of offshore renewable energy, with positive effects for the industry and UK economy. If your technology has the answer, get in touch via our contact form on the Innovation Challenges page.

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We are working with some of the UK’s best small innovators. Here is a flavour of our activity.


We helped London micro-SME Bladebug secure an Innovate UK grant to develop its innovative walking robotic crawler, which will reduce the impact of leading edge erosion and cut costs significantly by inspecting turbine blades even when wind speeds prove too high for flying drones. Full-scale tests, involving collaboration with Imperial College’s Dyson School of Design Engineering, will begin in Blyth later in 2018.

SME High-Growth Platform

The first-ever Innovation Challenges platform backed by private investment, the Catapult’s SME High-Growth Platform matches the UK’s most innovative technology developers with the Owner/Operators, venture capitalists, and testing facilities required to bring their products to the market. The Green Angel Syndicate and Scottish Power Renewables are the first major players to sign on, with another offshore wind Owner/Operator in discussions.


Around 96% of marine casualties stem from human error. Alongside unmanned marine systems specialists ASV Global, and a consortium of industry partners including Ørsted and BAE Systems, the WASP (Windfarm Autonomous Surface support vessels Project) is studying the utility of autonomous surface vessels in offshore wind, with the potential to make a step-change reduction in LCoE costs over manned vessels, and significant increases in safety and performance.


After they responded to our Innovation Challenge, we helped Aberdeen-based oil and gas contractors RIGOCAL Engineering secure £20,000 in ETP funding to develop their infrared camera technology, which monitors the movements of marine mammals during piling operations.

International ORE Research Platform

With the Chinese government investing $100bn in offshore wind over the next five years, the opportunities for UK companies to export their expertise are enormous. The Catapult’s International ORE Research Platform has engaged over 100 SMEs with a view to building a trilateral programme of research and support, ensuring UK firms are at the forefront when it comes to commercialising their technologies for the Chinese and US supply chain.

Axis EP

After helping Aberdeen-based oil and gas firm Axis EP secure £20,000 in funding, we’re working with them and the University of Strathclyde to carry out engineering analysis of their unique floating wind foundation design, which is easier to manufacture and transport thanks to its modular anchor. We also linked Axis EP with a major offshore wind developer, opening the door for further commercialisation of their technology.


Alongside Brunel University and TWI, we’re supporting Cambridge robotics specialists InnoTecUK in the development of a foundation inspection robot and a multi-purpose climbing robot. As well as helping to develop their commercial strategy, we’re testing the devices on our training tower in Blyth.



Sheffield-based SME Magnomatics’ innovative generator replaces one of the wind turbine’s most failure-prone parts – the gearbox – with a permanent magnet system that is 20% lighter, significantly more efficient, and could reduce offshore wind LCoE by 2.9%. We’re working with them to develop, test, and then scale-up a 500kW prototype.

Tidal Harness

We’re supporting Southampton start-up Tidal Harness in the development of their disruptive, floating tidal turbine concept, which has the potential to slash capital and operational expenditure compared to current models.

Ultra Electronics PMES

Our Innovation Challenges helped Ultra Electronics to diversify from defence into offshore renewables – after partnering the Staffordshire SME with EDF, we’re now working in collaboration on a full-scale demonstration of their unique electric field foundation corrosion sensor system.


We’re using the Levenmouth turbine to help Cambridge-based SME Octue validate their turbine control software, which could increase the lifetime of turbines and components, and reduce the cost of offshore wind by 2.4%.


After they responded to one of our innovation challenges, our leading edge erosion expertise is helping Aberdeen engineering firm W3G Marine to develop a pioneering drone system to inspect offshore turbine blade damage.


Alongside academics and Livingston-based SME Cyberhawk, we’re developing pioneering drone inspection techniques that could massively benefit the health and safety of offshore turbine technicians.

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