Business backstory

After more than a decade of meticulous research and development, Swansea-based Marine Power Systems are preparing to launch a revolutionary new floating platform into the renewable energy market, which supports the rapid delivery of industrial scale floating offshore wind, in deeper waters further out to sea.

The winds that blow across the ocean could provide enough energy to power the whole planet with clean, renewable electricity. The problem is, how to deploy enough wind turbines to harness this awesome source of power? The ocean is a notoriously tough environment to work in. Salt water and complex machinery aren’t the best of friends. There are storms to contend with.

This is one of the reasons why floating offshore wind has lagged behind onshore and fixed offshore wind. It is both a difficult technical challenge and potentially a costly one to overcome – but there’s also a huge untapped market out there, waiting for the right solution to come along.

For the past decade, Swansea-based Marine Power Systems have been systematically ticking off the landmarks in their quest to build the world’s best floating offshore wind platform. The company was co-founded in 2008 by Dr Gareth Stockman and Dr Graham Foster, a pair of mechanical engineers who met while doing PhDs at Swansea University.

Our ambition is to be a world leader in the supply of marine energy extraction hardware by producing the highest performance, most cost-effective technology in the market,” says Dr Stockman, now the company’s CEO.

How has the Welsh Government helped?

Since founding the company, they’ve been helped by the Welsh Government to secure the right funding at each key stage in their development, allowing them to build and test prototypes at increasing scale, paving the way for the technology to be launched on the market and sold around the world.

Our technology is at the cutting edge of the floating offshore wind sector,” says Dr Foster, the Chief Technology Officer. “We developed a unique floating platform technology, on which we can mount a wind turbine. We can get out into the deep water and harness all of that energy that would otherwise be impossible to harness by conventional means.”

Marine Power Systems are the only UK company developing optimal floating platform solutions. Their floating offshore wind platform, PelaFlex, is a unique and flexible modular technology that provides the most efficient pathway for delivering floating offshore wind at scale. Suitable for the largest, state of the art, wind turbines that are needed to generate grid scale electricity.

Dr Foster says: “Our floating platform delivers both high performance and cost efficiency for our customers, right through the entire product life-cycle whether that’s manufacturing, deployment or operational maintenance. Flexible design enables improved manufacturability and simplified logistics - all things that further reduce costs for our customers.”

Their next step is to take a full-scale prototype to the Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP) off the coast of the Basque Country in Spain, They’ll test a commercial megawatt-scale platform – with a direct connection into the Spanish electricity grid. It’s the final stage in the company’s testing programme before they deliver commercial devices to their customers.

It’s an incredibly exciting time for the business,” says Dr Stockman. “The marine energy sector in Wales is vibrant and growing at pace with over £152 million invested in the marine renewable energy sector during 2023, nearly four times more than any previous year. With the bidding process for seabed in the Celtic Sea well underway, Wales is well positioned to play a global leading role floating offshore wind.”

It's a sector that Wales will continue to nurture. While visiting Marine Power Systems, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We want Wales to be a leading player in the marine energy sector. This means supporting Welsh developers like Marine Power Systems; continuing to attract developers from around the world to Wales and exploring our knowledge, technology and services globally.”

Learn more about Marine Power Systems on the Marine Power Systems website.

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