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Innovate UK Funds Project to Optimize Celtic Sea Floating Wind Platform

Innovate UK has funded a project to optimize a floating offshore wind platform called PelaFlex for the Celtic Sea. Swansea University is collaborating on the project, which aims to reduce costs by leveraging locally sourced materials and fabrication techniques. The initiative also supports the establishment of a green steel production hub in Port Talbot.

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Image Credit: ShutterDesigner/

The funding will be used to launch the Launchpad project, ensuring that the PelaFlex platform is manufactured, assembled, and deployed locally whenever feasible.

Over £800,000 worth of work will be done on the project by Swansea University's Department of Mechanical Engineering, Marine Power Systems, Ledwood Mechanical Engineering, Tata Steel UK, ABP (Associated British Ports), Port Talbot, and the Port of Milford Haven.

Launchpad will minimize material and deployment costs while optimizing PelaFlex's structural efficiency, giving special attention to the harsh environment in the Celtic Sea. This entails utilizing Port Talbot-produced strip steel, locally sourced components, and assembly and rollout through ports already in place in southwest Wales.

Swansea University will contribute to the design by utilizing the most recent advancements in structural design modeling. Ledwood, a Pembrokeshire-based company, will offer insights to optimize the degree to which regional suppliers can assist with fabrication.

Contributions from the Port of Milford Haven and Associated British Ports will guarantee that the platform can be set up and operated from those sites with the least investment needed.

The initiative will help Tata Steel UK achieve its goal of decarbonizing steel production in Port Talbot. One example of this is the use of an electric arc furnace to produce green strip steel. It will also assist in positioning the town as an industrial center for offshore wind development and deployment.

 It is a great opportunity to be working with MPS, Ledwood, Tata Steel, the Port of Milford Haven, and ABP Port Talbot to deliver this exciting project. Each of the partners brings different and complementary expertise to this engineering challenge, and the project really showcases the potential of industry in South-West Wales. MPS has developed a world-class concept which we are really excited to help them optimize, using experience in computation techniques at Swansea University and to support local industry.

Dr. Will Harrison, Senior Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Swansea University

Graham Foster, Chief Technology Officer at Marine Power Systems, commented: “We are really excited to receive support through Innovate UK. With the deployment of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea becoming a reality the time is absolutely right to work with the local supply chain to optimize the detailed design of our technology and maximize its deliverability. A good example of that is that we are confident that through this project we will be able to optimize our platform design to increase the amount of local steel used to fabricate it from around 10% to over 50%.”

 Launchpad represents another step forward for the emerging floating offshore wind industry. As a locally-based engineering company, we are pleased to be working with MPS, Tata Steel, the Port of Milford Haven, ABP Port Talbot, and Swansea University to help build a local supply chain by capitalizing on the skills, expertise, and infrastructure that we have here in South-West Wales. This is an exciting time for us and we hope the region can take advantage of the opportunities that will soon emerge.

Mark Davies, Ledwood Mechanical Engineering,

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