The consortium behind the Subsea Micropiles Project (SEMPRE) has announced the commencement of its collaboration, following the formal announcement of third round Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) awardees by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD, earlier this year.
The €5 million SEMPRE project and will receive a €2.82 million DTIF grant over three years.
The project will include extensive research and testing to address key technical challenges in the development of a new robotic seabed drilling system for the installation, testing, and certification of marine anchors using micropile technology. 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.
The project consortium includes Irish companies Mincon Group plc (project lead) and Subsea Micropiles Ltd, along with research centres at University College of Dublin (UCD Centre for Mechanics) and University of Limerick. These partners will collaborate to develop a solution that aims to transform the industry 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.”
Vikram Pakrashi, Director of UCD Centre for Mechanics and Associate Professor, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, said: “This is an exceptional opportunity to demonstrate how disciplinary barriers are becoming less relevant for some of the grand challenges of our times. Our work in this project will bring fundamental mechanics, sensors and analytics together to create a much-needed evidence base on this topic.”
Edin Omerdic, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, University of Limerick, said: “It is really interesting to see how our advanced robotics solutions can lead to a novel and less intrusive offshore piling process, especially in the context of the rise of offshore renewable energy.”