Belgian international crane, heavy lift and haulage company Sarens has invested in UK start up business Tugdock, as part of a larger scale partnership.
Incorporated in 2018, and based in Falmouth, Cornwall, Tugdock has patented and produced an innovative floating solution to lift vessels and floating structures from the water. The technology enables heavy marine structures to be built or assembled and loaded out in ports with water depth or space restrictions. The Tugdock submersible platform is modular, and comes in a range of deck sizes from 12 metres square up to 120 metres square, with a lift capacity up to 35,000 tonnes. It is also easy to transport by road, easy to erect, and completely reusable. It is able to lift vessels and other floating structures clear of the water at a fraction of the cost of standard dry docks. A key application is offshore wind constriction.
Chief executive Shane Carr added: “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.”
Tugdock’s director of business development Lucas Lowe-Houghton said: “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.”
“Our submersible floating dry docks can operate with as little as five metres draft, enabling more efficient wind turbine floater construction. The platform is then towed to deeper water for launching of the turbines. More than eight percent 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.”
Carl Sarens, director of technical solutions, projects & engineering 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.”
Simon Cheeseman of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult added: “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.”
The following video is a demonstration of how the system works