Two East of England Firms Win SCORE Funding

The SCORE (Supply Chain Innovation for Offshore Renewable Energy) programme continues to provide grant funding to innovative ideas coming out of the East of England to benefit the offshore renewable energy sector. The latest grant recipients have been announced as offshore and vessel support specialists, Kiss Cranes, and Pager Power, providers of worldwide planning solutions for radar interference, radio links, airport obstructions and the renewable energy sector.

Kiss Cranes was awarded £4,500 by SCORE for its revolutionary new pivoting balance crane design, and the funds enabled the Great Yarmouth based company to fast track 3D modelling and structural calculations of its design, undertaken by engineering analytics experts.

Brainchild of Kiss Cranes’ Stephen Chadd, the innovative crane design concept was developed to address the problems of lifting increasingly wide offshore personnel transfer boats out of the water for repair.

The personnel transfer boats used in the offshore wind industry are mostly catamarans and are more akin to super yachts than traditional work boats. Increasingly these craft are too wide to be lifted by most quayside lifting facilities, and as new designs get wider, the average width of the latest personnel transfer boats is around eight metres, this massively impacts on where boats can be taken out of the water to undertake emergency repairs and scheduled maintenance work.

Chadd comments: “Projects such as Anglia One are expected to bring in a considerable number of support vessels to the region, emphasising the extent of the problem and the need for a safe efficient means of bringing these boats ashore and turning them around quickly.”

Prior to securing funding, Kiss Cranes benefited from specialist and industry expertise available through the SCORE grant, which funded an initial feasibility study undertaken by Lowestoft College’s engineering consultancy.  The results of the study then played a critical role in securing the crane’s patent and intellectual property rights.

The crane’s pioneering design provides unrivalled stability when manipulating the load, which is balanced by moving weights to reach the perfect balance point, also negating the need for extensive and costly quayside reconstruction.

When affixed to a crawler bogie the crane, having a very low profile, can easily manoeuvre vessels into boatsheds, which enables repairs to be undertaken more efficiently, without being hindered by adverse weather conditions.  The crane is operated remotely by the lift supervisor, which enables him to best position and manipulate the load at all times.

Chadd continues: “We pride ourselves in solving problems faced by the marine industry and believe our pivoting balance crane has phenomenal potential. Not only does it address the needs of the rapidly expanding offshore wind industry, but as the design is totally scalable, the range of industries it could benefit is vast. 

“SCORE’s assistance in organising the feasibility study gave us the impetus to take the crane from a ‘good idea’, that we knew was stable, safe and speeded up the repair process, to a commercially viable concept.

“Our SCORE grant is now funding work with engineering analytics experts, which involves 3D modelling our design and undertaking structural calculations.  Once this phase has been completed we will be embarking on our search for partners or sponsors to get the crane built.”

The SCORE programme has also provided funding to Sudbury-based Pager Power, which provides worldwide planning solutions for radar interference, radio links, airport obstructions and renewable energy.  The company has been awarded £17,925 to progress a project to enhance its software, specifically for offshore wind developers, by incorporating wave and tidal data.

The company uses its advanced software to assess the impact of wind farms on radar and radio systems. Pager Power currently works with its customers to assist in resolving any potential planning objections that arise because wind farms can interfere with radar systems which are generally used by air defence and air traffic control for important purposes.

Pager Power uses a combination of radar line of sight and detectability assessments. The crucial element in both of these assessments is the surface profile between the radar and the wind turbine, of which the results are generated using automatic digital terrain or surface data. Pager Power’s approach is particularly innovative as it uses a weighted average algorithm optimised for accurately determining whether a wind turbine is within radar line of sight.

SCORE funding will be used to develop Pager Power’s processes for generating surface profiles to provide even greater accuracy.

The software will be enhanced by the addition of wave and tidal data, because the ever changing landscape, particularly in the Southern North Sea, needs to be taken into account in order to achieve correct assessments of possible interference.

The software will assist in the production of online reports, which wind farm developers can then use to assess any plans. These new reports will be more advanced than anything currently available, providing greater accuracy through the use of algorithms.

Pager Power’s software will provide significant benefits to UK and overseas offshore wind developers, especially in reducing the time required to achieve planning permission as a result of more accurate data being available.

Mike Watson, chairman of Pager Power, comments: “The inclusion of wave and tidal data into our assessment software will give us a unique offering, enabling us to provide more precise results, which will benefit both wind farm developers and radar operators alike.

“Without the grant from the SCORE programme this project would simply not have been able to happen in this form. The application for SCORE  funding was a refreshing change from other grant programmes as it was not about form filling, but simply involved writing a plan of what we were looking to do and why.”

Richard Salmon, project manager and business adviser for SCORE finishes: “Pager Power’s software has the potential to have a substantial impact on the growth of offshore wind farms. The ability to have sight of accurate assessments of any potential interference new turbine developments may have will reduce the risk factor in submitting costly planning applications that have the potential to fall at the first hurdle, and will speed up the process.

“It’s also great to see the impact that comparatively small grants, such as that awarded to Kiss Cranes, can have when getting a great idea off the ground.

“The SCORE funding programme has been hugely successful, having supported over 40 companies across East Anglia, and demonstrates why the region is at the forefront of the offshore renewable sector in the UK and is leading the way for further developments along our coastline.”

Press release; Image: Kiss Cranes/Pager Power