Marine-i has announced its support for a pioneering new mooring system for use in Falmouth Harbour. Such a system would help to increase the operating capacity the harbour, without the need for large-scale infrastructure development.
Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i is designed to help the marine tech sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.
This project, led by Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC), intends to meet the challenge of anchoring very large vessels or platforms without the requirement of very large capacity lifting vessels. A modular system with numerous relatively lightweight components enables installation, maintenance and decommissioning operations at low cost.
Two previous stages of research have identified a solution, which is an eight-legged mooring system with multiple gravity and drag anchors. The next stage will be the building and testing of a prototype. If these results are positive, full scale trials of a complete modular mooring system will take place, followed by certification and commercialisation.
FHC chief executive, Miles Carden, said: “This project is breaking completely new ground for mooring systems, so having access to the world-class research expertise available from the Marine-i partners has been critical in progressing the modelling of the new design.
“If successful, the impact of this new mooring system on Falmouth Harbour operations would be felt for many years to come. We are now awaiting progress with Floating Offshore wind project developers prior to committing further, as a partnering approach would be preferred, but the evidence we have to date will be incredibly useful as these exciting proposals progress.”
Prof Lars Johanning, programme director for Marine-i, said: “The project will push the boundaries of the economics and feasibility of large holding power mooring systems. Gravity anchors and drag embedment anchors will be applied in a novel configuration, using very innovative techniques.
“There are no other modular mooring systems with suitable holding power and low mass components. By pioneering a completely new solution, this innovation could benefit marine operations and port infrastructure nationally – and internationally. It will also allow Falmouth Harbour to expand into important new operations, such as providing support to the emerging Floating Offshore Wind industry in Cornwall.”