The North East of England is quickly establishing itself as a world-leading hub of offshore renewable energy activity, with several major industry players establishing a strong presence in the area. To boost the supply chain within this burgeoning Northeast offshore wind sector, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, alongside industry partners, has established the Technology, Innovation & Green Growth for Offshore Renewables (TIGGOR) programme.
Primarily funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA), the £3.5m initiative has received major industry backing from Equinor, joint venture partner and future operator of Dogger Bank Wind Farm, the world’s largest offshore wind farm that will have its onshore base at Port of Tyne, and EDF Renewables, which owns and operates the Blyth Offshore Demonstrator and Teesside wind farms.
Launched in 2020, businesses are already reaping the benefits of the TIGGOR programme, having access to either competitive technology demonstration funding support or business growth support, depending on their needs. The technology demonstration support, led by ORE Catapult alongside Equinor and EDF Renewables, provides technology assessment, advice and potential funding in areas such as robotics and autonomous systems, digital twins and next generation technologies for improved operations and maintenance.
Support for supply chain business growth is delivered by the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP), with input from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Hub, for businesses across the northeast region. This strand of support offers specialist innovation advice, market intelligence and business planning for organisations operating in the offshore energy sectors and those looking to enter the market.
In May 2021, the TIGGOR programme selected five companies operating in the North of Tyne region to showcase their innovative technologies to Equinor and EDF Renewables.
The successful companies received a share of £1.7m in match funding made available through the first round of the TIGGOR programme’s technology demonstration strand. Since joining the programme, several of the companies are already noting remarkable developments in their technology’s route to market.
Kinewell Energy was one of those five firms. . Now the Tyneside company is seeing substantial growth, having created eight new jobs in quick succession from starting out as a single employee (founder, Andrew Jenkins). This has been made possible off the back of the TIGGOR-funded project to support the highly innovative Kinewell Layout Optimisation of Cable (KLOC) software for inter-array layout for offshore wind farms.
“We are growing rapidly now and thanks to the TIGGOR programme are looking to take on eight members of staff…things are really taking off”
Another of the ‘first five’ to receive support from TIGGOR was Transmission Dynamics, an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) company with 20+ years’ experience designing and manufacturing bespoke systems to measure critical parameters in challenging environments. The funding is helping the company develop innovative, low cost, ultra-sonic sensors to deploy guided waves across wind turbine towers and foundations, identifying cracks, corrosion and loss of bolt tension for wind turbine structural integrity testing. Trials of existing technologies will be conducted at ORE Catapult’s facilities in order to understand the strengths and weaknesses and inform the future design.
“Now that [the] TIGGOR [programme has] invested in this work, we expect significant turnover increase. We aim to patent the IP generated, offering opportunities to license the technology developed. Ultimately this will all feed into our business plan which includes creation of 50 new jobs over the next five years to service the company’s growth in this and other sectors.”
Finally, Newcastle-based Trident Dynamics also received a share of the £1.7m in match funding to develop a unique surface-oriented autonomous modular support craft designed specifically for resident offshore renewable energy installations providing inspection and intervention capabilities. Kate Lovelock, Director of Business Development for Trident Dynamics Limited, said:
“Access to ORE Catapult staff has been extremely beneficial as they bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise which is complementary to ours. Also, ORE Catapult has a wide array of excellent facilities and resources that provide us with theoretical and practical capabilities we simple could not hope to gain access to without their assistance.”
Another success story is UNASYS, a service provider that manages the life cycle of projects. TIGGOR has supported UNASYS to develop its remote asset management platform that allows technicians to monitor how an asset is performing, weather conditions, maintenance schedules, among other things. Watch the video below to learn more about the UNASYS story so far.
Do you operate in the North East of England and want to grow in offshore renewables? The next call for technology demonstration support as part of the TIGGOR programme opened on 24th March 2022. Register your interest today on the TIGGOR webpage >