Walker Subsea starts work on renewable energy-powered subsea motor

UK-based specialist engineering firm Walker Subsea Engineering has been awarded funding to develop a novel offshore renewable energy-powered subsea motor.

A photo of Walker Subsea Engineering's subsea motor (Courtesy of Walker Subsea Engineering)
Walker Subsea Engineering’s subsea motor (Courtesy of Walker Subsea Engineering)

The motor will be used to drive propulsion systems for marine craft and ROVs, for pumps and compressors on subsea production systems, and generating offshore renewable energy from tidal turbines.

The machine uses the Axial Flux technology platform supplied by AVID Technology.

It is designed for operation in up to 1000-meter water depth, producing 200kW peak power output, at a weight less than 150 kilograms. Prototype build is already in progress, while the testing due to begin in the third quarter of 2021.

The project is co-funded by the UK’s Innovation Agency, Innovate UK and supported by North Tyneside Council, with project partners ORE Catapult located in Blyth responsible for testing of the machine in their state-of-the-art facility. The testing scope includes indoor tank-test as well as drydock for complete submersion of the machine in seawater.

North Tyneside Council also assisted Walker Subsea in locating their office at the Swans Centre for Innovation on the banks of The River Tyne in Wallsend. This has enabled the company to recently grow its workforce and recruit two new talented engineers.

Vahid Walker, Technical Director of Walker Subsea: “This is a specialist machine, requiring highly skilled workforce to prepare detailed drawings, calculations and assembly plans. We have already boosted our team with graduates from Northumbria and Newcastle Universities, and will likely require further engineers as we move on from prototype to production”.

Stephen Robertson, Head of Business Development at ORE Catapult, said: “This project demonstrates why the ORE Catapult has such a vital role to play in the UK supply chain development for offshore renewable energy. Supporting local SME’s to develop novel innovative hardware is a key driver for ORE Catapult and Walker Subsea is a great example of this initiative in action”.