OPEC Reports on Multi-Use Platforms

Houlder naval architects and engineers were delighted to contribute various hydrodynamic and stability studies to the OPEC (Offshore Platform for Energy Competitiveness) project as part of a consortium with Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, Marine South East, Stellenbosch University and Beckett Rankine.

The above OPEC team combined their expertise to test a number of combined energy service deployment cases to find the most suitable for future investment. This included integrating offshore wind electricity generation and shellfish farming, for example. The idea being secondary uses of offshore structures can off set some of the foundation installation costs.

The fifteen month project has found that partnering between floating wind developers and aquaculture producers would be beneficial – delivering potential additional revenue streams for those investing in offshore renewables.

In addition, the team established that engineering and pilot deployment of a wind and aquaculture OPEC platform might serve a small island developing state well. The was a good opportunity to deliver high socio-economic value. The consortium’s work identified this as potentially suitable for investment by government.

Although the technical feasibility aspect, to which Houlder contributed directly, had a positive outcome, OPEC’s report concluded that the economic viability of such joint platforms remains challenging. Further work is required to optimise any platform design and bring together the right balanced combination of marine energy and other activities that generate revenue.

The project also considered the replacement of conventional wind turbine energy generation with a high altitude kite system and the combination of an offshore port with wave energy capture in small island states as development possibilities which merit investigation.

According to the partners, options are currently being explored to fund a follow-up project to look at the detailed engineering required for two pilot multi-use platforms, one in South Africa and one in the UK.

Houlder’s role as innovator within OPEC Consortium has been replicated within other similar renewable energy studies including floating turbine feasibility, autonomous maintenance vessel operations, personnel transfer technology and modular, motion-compensated wind turbine component handling.


Image: Beckett Rankine

Talk to us about how we can support you

Contact Us

“Charting a ‘solo’ course through this swirl of uncertainty is close to impossible. That’s why we’re often asked by clients to build their knowledge, evaluate their challenges and assess their options. We work closely with research funds and clean-tech providers by bringing decades of industry experience to bear. Our position is independent, technical ‘client friend’ for the decarbonising decades ahead.”


Rupert Hare, Chief Executive Officer