20 May, 2024

Novel solution for floating offshore wind industry

12 April, 2023
From left to right: Lucas Lowe-Houghton (Tugdock); Wim Sarens (Sarens); Carl Sarens (Sarens); Shane Carr (Tugdock)

H&P looks at a new partnership to deliver an innovative solution for the floating wind industry.


A partnership that will enable Tugdock Limited and Sarens, the crane rental services, heavy lifting and engineered transport company, to offer a novel solution to the fast-growing floating offshore wind industry, was recently announced.

To support the further growth of Tugdock, Sarens has invested in the startup company, which is based in Cornwall, UK. Lucas Lowe-Houghton, Director of Business Development for Tugdock, explained: “The floating offshore wind sector is expected to continue to grow rapidly. However, very few of the world’s ports have sufficient water depth and assembly quay space to build the huge turbine floaters required and conventional dry docks are not wide enough as they were originally designed for ships. Tugdock’s patented marine buoyancy bag technology solves this issue. It allows floating dry docks to be delivered by road in modular form and assembled at the port to dimensions far wider than most of the world’s existing dry docks.”

Lucas continued: “Our submersible floating dry docks can operate with as little as 5 metres draft, enabling more efficient wind turbine floater construction. The platform is then towed to deeper water for launching of the turbines. More than 8% of the total cost of a floating offshore wind farm is accounted for by assembly and installation. So, any innovation that allows this process to be carried out more efficiently and quickly will have a big impact on profitability for developers.”

Floating offshore wind turbines are located in areas where there is deeper water and higher winds than fixed wind turbine structures, enabling them to generate higher levels of power. This means they are expected to play a key role in the transition to net zero. Over 20 gigawatts of floating offshore wind power is expected to be commissioned globally by 2035, requiring over 2600 wind turbines.

Carl Sarens, Director of Technical Solutions, Projects & Engineering at Sarens, added: “Through this partnership with Tugdock, we are able to streamline the solution we offer to developers. By significantly reducing time and costs, our alliance will deliver a step change for wind turbine construction. In addition, Tugdock’s flexibility and reusability is useful to global developers as the units can be reused from one port or project to another regardless of changes in turbine size or foundation weight.”

Shane Carr, CEO of Tugdock, also explained: “Working in partnership with a large multinational such as Sarens will accelerate our development, enabling further innovation to keep us at the forefront of the floating offshore wind industry.”

Simon Cheeseman of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (the UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy) commented that Tugdock has created a “brilliant innovative solution to enhance port capacity and meet one of the most significant infrastructure challenges facing the fast-growing floating offshore wind industry.” He concluded that its partnership with Sarens will accelerate use of this solution by floating offshore wind developers across the world.




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