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Offshore wind meets…

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Never have an idea

It might seem a bit of a strange thing to say for someone who works at Innovate UK, but my advice is: never have an idea.

Why? Simply because if you do, and you push on enough doors, eventually someone might ask you to deliver on that idea.

In fairness, this time it wasn’t entirely my idea, but I decided to champion it at Innovate UK, and people seemed to like it. So now I have to deliver on it. I’m not going to do it alone, of course, but more on that later.

Unexpected inspiration

If there is one thing I have learnt, it is that inspiration comes from unexpected places. For example:

  • the Maclaren pushchair was inspired by aircraft landing gear
  • memory foam mattresses use material originally developed for space flight
  • formula 1 cockpit design is used to protect soldiers in armoured vehicles
  • building work platforms are now used for blade inspection

Wait, what was that last one? Just an example of a successful innovation in offshore wind that was not derived in that industry and whose development was part funded by Innovate UK.

That brings me back to that idea that should never have been. Wouldn’t it be great to capture some of that cross-sector innovation to help drive down the cost of offshore wind?

Offshore wind – the opportunity

Offshore wind turbines
Offshore wind turbines

There is more than 5GW of offshore wind already installed in UK waters: 4.5GW of projects under construction and a significant pipeline of projects emerging across the world.

I think that offshore wind energy presents a real opportunity for UK companies to diversify and expand both at home and abroad.

Who would be great for technology transfer?

In thinking about which other sectors might be suitable targets to exploit this opportunity, the natural comparisons come to my mind:

  • industries that have experience of working in harsh environments
  • those that are expert in doing things remotely
  • those that operate with similar physical scale of product

But more than that, I need to target sectors that:

  • want to diversify
  • are experienced in it
  • whose core market is on a downturn

The answer: Offshore wind should meet space, defence and oil & gas.

Actually, in this case, space, defence and oil & gas should meet offshore wind.

Sentinel, European Space Agency
Sentinel, European Space Agency

If you recall, I said that I wasn’t going to do this all on my own. With the assistance of Orbis Energy and Knowledge Transfer Network, I have devised a unique event to bring together these four distinct industries to facilitate sharing of ideas and cross sector innovation.

The regional opportunity

I am really excited by this collaboration since the location at Lowestoft makes perfect sense.

The East of England services the southern North Sea, which is the most densely populated area of UK waters for offshore wind farms and oil and gas activity, bringing growth opportunity for existing supply chains.

The space sector was already targeting an event in the region and it made sense to join forces.

Additionally, I hope to see interest in the Score fund increase as a result, which provides funding support for innovative businesses in the region who wish to target offshore wind.

Maybe you should have ideas after all

So I want to encourage others to come up with the ideas. Maybe if someone likes them you will be asked to deliver on them and maybe fortune will favour the brave.

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  1. Comment by Habib Torabi posted on

    I would like to assess my technical conceptual ideations for developing in UK.
    Here under you can find a few topics that can be considered for developing into a final innovative product and/or establishing a game changing engineering start up:

    Thrust vectoring of commercial airplanes can be used as a tool for lowering the fuel consumption. United Kingdom would be a lucky country for hiring this technology by the Rolls-Royce jet engine manufacturing company nationally and introducing this technology to the airbus internationally.

    At least three different concept in conjunction with advanced drones of Solara50 and Solara60. It’s about the creation of an innovative higher aspect ratio for installing more solar cells, 3D efficient solar cells and an efficient hybrid energy storage system.

    Last vertical landing step of first stage of reusable first stage of rockets in Spacex Technology can be redesigned through an innovative design for a safe landing.

    Hybrid anti flooding-energy harvesting management concept is composed just because of pain and suffering of people during the period of rivers flooding.

    The temperature of Middle East cities can be decreased by the Solar Freezing-Melting concept. This technology absorbs the heating energy of the sun for producing the ice crystals (pure water), running the cities air conditioning and industrial refrigeration systems, and decreasing the high temperature of cities without any footprint of environmentally harmful gas emissions such as NOx, CO2, etc.

    Very short responding to the renewable power intermittency is a reason for introducing an innovative flexible responding flywheel concept.

    The new generation of innovative mega scale wind turbine design can give the right direction to the entering wind into the turbine blades.
    This wind turbine design can change the wind velocity into a higher pre programmed velocity. According to the wind power formula, wind velocity has a direct influence on wind power by power of three. Thus, a higher wind velocity produces a higher efficiency.
    Changing the wind pressure in front and back of the wind turbine can produce higher extracting wind power efficiency.
    Less noise pollution and less visual pollution would be another issue that can be considered by this new wind turbine design.
    Less investment risks is another important issue just because of displacing the most expensive part of wind turbine such as turbine blades and its direction systems, gearbox, generator and electrical systems, etc on the ground. This means also a lower installation, operation, maintenance and insurance costs.
    Coupling with other energy storage systems through a smart pre programmed system would introduce this wind turbine design as an efficient wind turbine design.

    These are only a few innovative conceptual ideations that could be enough for being supported by the Innovative British kingdom organization. I am very good at innovation and solving the complicated problems if I am interested in such topics. Sometimes I find a solution just for a few seconds, such as another technical alternative for injecting of water into the reciprocating engine cylinders for an efficient combustion (German industrial research) but sometimes for finding a solution, I have to be engaged for a few years. My brain functions like as a live simulation for almost every interesting thing.

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the right manner to introduce my innovative capacity in the Netherlands.

    May I ask you to introduce me an expert through your organization for assessment of my technical innovative conceptual ideations?