The Irish government has awarded a €2.9-million grant in support of a new construction method for marine foundations and anchors. This new technology has the potential to benefit the offshore wind industry by substantially lowering costs and reducing the environmental impact on the ocean environment. The project consortium includes Irish companies Mincon Group plc and Subsea Micropiles Ltd, along with research centres at the University of Limerick and University College of Dublin.
The project will include the development of a new robotic seabed drilling system along with the installation and testing of marine anchors using micropile technology, with initial tests taking place by mid-2022. Micropiling has grown to become a dominant foundation and anchoring solution for onshore infrastructure since the 1950s, as a proven low-noise and low-impact approach to soil interventions. Recent advances in underwater robotics now opens the door for low-cost micropiling to be used in the vast market for offshore piling and anchoring.
Derek Robertson, CEO, Subsea Micropiles Ltd, said:
“We are pleased to be working with such a distinguished team of engineering professionals as we advance commercial solutions for micropiled anchors and foundations. The grant-funded project provides a welcome focus for the industry to address the pressing need for more cost effective and environmentally sympathetic solutions to support the growth of offshore wind and other applications.”
Joe Purcell, CEO, Mincon Group plc, said:
“At Mincon, we already focus on making the world’s most energy-efficient drilling solutions, lowering both fuel usage and the impact on the environment. We are delighted to lead this effort with Subsea Micropiles and two prestigious Irish universities, with an aim to use our extensive engineering expertise to develop an innovative solution that will disrupt the renewable energy industry and benefit the wider offshore sector.”
The prototype demonstration represents a key development milestone towards a full solution and service capability ready for commercial projects by 2023.
Geoscience Ireland member Mincon Group plc operates an engineering group specializing in the design, manufacture, sales, and servicing of rock drilling tools and associated products. The Company produces and offers DTH, RC, and directional drilling, as well as top hammer and underground mining.