Archived — Top Canadian researcher innovates in offshore wind turbine service

Photo: Peter Gifford, President and CEO of ExtremeOcean Innovation

Peter Gifford, President and CEO of ExtremeOcean Innovation

Offshore wind turbines present one of the greatest opportunities to achieve a clean energy future, but the ocean's rough waters and the logistical hurdles of transporting crews and equipment to the turbines present significant challenges. The strong and steady winds that propel the turbines also create large swells and dangerous conditions.

Researcher Peter Gifford and his colleagues are designing the solution: the TranSPAR Craft, a self-propelled marine vessel created to serve offshore wind turbines.

The TranSPAR Craft is currently under development at ExtremeOcean Innovation Inc., a marine technology start-up founded by Peter Gifford and Brian Veitch in June 2010.

Photo: The TranSPAR Craft, a wind farm support vessel

The TranSPAR Craft, a wind farm support vessel.

The TranSPAR Craft, a patented design for accessing and servicing offshore wind turbines, is being developed as an efficient short-range, low-motion vessel capable of safely navigating the notoriously choppy waters between offshore wind farms and transferring maintenance personnel, equipment and supplies to and from offshore wind turbines.

ExtremeOcean Innovation has rapidly advanced the TranSPAR Craft technology using a stage-gate process focused on engineering development activities coupled with rigorous, objective evaluations by a technical working group representing these offshore wind energy companies:

Photo: In-field service hub concept

In-field service hub concept.

Award-winning research

"Canadian researchers, like Peter, make stellar contributions in their fields and are highly respected around the world," says NSERC Chief Operating Officer Janet Walden. "We are extremely proud of the talent fostered by NSERC, from students embarking on their careers to seasoned researchers making internationally recognized discoveries."

At Memorial University, NSERC's Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Training Program for Offshore Technology Research is playing a valuable role in developing and preparing skilled professionals for the Canadian labour force. In operation since 2010, the Program for Offshore Technology Research allows graduate students to participate in internships that cover all aspects of offshore activity, including scientific challenges in offshore design and operations.

Entered into the Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator Access Competition, the TranSPAR Craft was selected as 1 of only 13 winners from over 450 submissions from around the world.

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