UK: James Fisher Defence Brings Its Expertise to Marine Renewable Energy Engineering

James Fisher Defence Brings Its Expertise to Marine Renewable Energy Engineering

With its headquarters at Renfrew, on the River Clyde in Scotland, and offices in the United States, Australia and Singapore, James Fisher Defence is one of the most respected names in subsea engineering. Established for almost 30 years, the company is a world leader in submarine rescue services, being the operator of the national service in Singapore and Australia and having operated the UK Submarine Rescue Service for 25 years up to 2008.

The company is capable of taking on the most demanding of defence projects – working to the highest design and fabrication standards – and has been responsible for notable achievements such as the highly publicized 2005 rescue of the seven trapped submariners of the submersible vessel, Priz, in deep waters off the Russian Far East coast.

With the rapid expansion of the UK marine renewable energy market – and many prototype tidal stream and wave energy devices under evaluation, as well as production-scale offshore wind farms under development – the company is focusing on the needs of this new type of customer. Its impressive 1900 square metre workshops on the Clyde provide an excellent defence-quality engineering and fabrication environment, capable of building and servicing the most complex of subsea equipment.

An ideal resource for marine renewable energy developers, this facility includes a 100 cubic metre test tank where submersibles, turbines, dive equipment, and a wide range of sea-based power generation components and systems can be tested in complete safety prior to full scale prototype deployment.

“We are used to taking on some extremely challenging subsea engineering tasks for the world’s navies,” said Ben Sharples, Managing Director of James Fisher Defence. “We have an extremely well-equipped engineering resource here on the Clyde that is ideally located for those engaged in marine renewable projects in UK, Irish and near-continental European waters. Given our proven abilities in naval architecture, design, engineering, development testing, fabrication and subsea deployment – including the integration of high-integrity powertrains into pressure vessels through our numerous submersible design and manufacturing projects – it follows that we have the skills too that are crucial to the successful and safe delivery of many types of marine renewable energy projects.”

An example of the projects already being carried out by James Fisher Defence for marine renewable energy customers is its work for Ocean Flow Energy on the company’s Evopod™ semi-submerged, floating, tethered tidal energy capture device. James Fisher Defence has been contracted to assemble the power train for the quarter-scale, 37 kW prototype of the device to be installed in the waters of Sanda Sound, South Kintyre, where it will be connected to the 11 kV grid in a multi-year evaluation.

“Whilst this represents a new market for us, it’s one in which we are right at home,” concludes Sharples. “We have the skills, expertise and resources, and we are in an ideal location to provide an excellent engineering support service focused on delivering the functionality that customers require, reliably and in complete safety.”

Naval Today Staff,November 8, 2012; Image: James Fisher Defence