Gearbox engineering company wins cash to accelerate offshore wind innovation

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Press ref: 2012/016 A world-leading gear engineering and manufacturing company has been confirmed as the first successful bidder to a major…

Press ref: 2012/016

A world-leading gear engineering and manufacturing company has been confirmed as the first successful bidder to a major Government scheme to support manufacturers developing next generation offshore wind technology. David Brown Gear Systems (David Brown), whose UK facility is in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, has been awarded a £1.2m grant to help develop its 7MW offshore wind turbine gearbox.

David Brown’s innovative technology will be used for Samsung Heavy Industries’ new turbine. The gearbox, through its low weight and compact design, can improve cost of ownership and ultimately lower the cost of energy for wind turbine operators.

It is the first company to be awarded funding under DECC and the Technology Strategy Board’s Offshore Wind Component Technologies Innovation scheme which is worth around £5m. Launched last November, the scheme aims to help innovators with novel ideas to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said:

“The coalition is determined to drive ambitious green growth and this is putting our money where our mouth is. This cash shows we are really shifting gear when it comes to supporting innovation and offshore wind. Making wind turbines more efficient is common sense and will help bring down the costs making them more attractive to build and helping us increase the amount of electricity we get from clean, green sources. It’s great to see David Brown Gear Systems stepping up to the challenge to ensure wind turbines work in the most efficient way.”

Ian Farquhar, Managing Director Wind Energy, David Brown Gear Systems said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the Offshore Wind Components Technologies Innovation scheme to help develop a wind turbine gearbox which aims to reduce the cost of energy for wind turbine operators by as much as 5%. At David Brown we strive to be leaders in the gearing technologies of tomorrow and this grant will allow us to reduce the financial risk of bringing a beneficial product to market. This is a major boost to both David Brown and the UK supply chain, not only in terms of immediate supply partners but additionally, the wider opportunities that will develop as a result.”

This marks the first round of funding under the Offshore Wind Components Technologies Innovation scheme, further winners will be announced shortly and a second call for ideas will be launched in spring this year.

In addition, the Government’s Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group has today published an analysis of the priority areas for innovation support in offshore wind, the findings of which underpin the design of DECC’s Offshore Wind Innovation Scheme. The Technology Innovation Needs Assessment (TINA) Summary Report shows that offshore wind has tremendous potential to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and help meet renewables and carbon reduction targets. It also highlights the importance of innovation for cutting the cost of offshore wind and delivering benefits to the UK economy.

This is the first TINA Summary Report to be published. TINAs for other technology areas are being finalised and are expected to be published over the next few months

Notes for Editors

  1. David Brown is a global company that began business in Huddersfield more than 150 years ago. David Brown recently announced it has been granted planning permission to build a world-class wind turbine gearbox research and innovation centre and centre of excellence for gear manufacture in Mirfield, Yorkshire. The new state-of-the-art facility signifies a key stage in David Brown’s UK offshore wind supply chain strategy and will supply components to planned coastal assembly facilities. For further information on David Brown please contact Toni Jackson, Communications Director: +44 (0) 7702202734
  2. The Spending Review of November 2010 announced DECC Capital funding of over £200m for low carbon technologies over four financial years, from April 2011. This includes up to £60m for the development of offshore wind manufacturing at port sites. The remaining capital funding will support innovation in low carbon technologies and systems
  3. From that budget, DECC announced the allocation of up to £30million for offshore wind innovation projects in July 2011, with £15million of that fund allocated to the Offshore Wind Component Technologies Demonstration and Development Scheme. The first call for proposals under this scheme was launched on 21 November 2011.
  4. The DECC and Technology Strategy Board’s Offshore Wind Component Technologies Innovation Scheme is one part of a portfolio of support to innovation in Offshore Wind coordinated by members of the Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group (LCICG). That support aims to reduce costs and to maximise the benefits of Offshore Wind to the UK economy.
  5. The Government’s Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group brings together the major public-sector backed funders of low carbon innovation in the UK to work together to coordinate their activities and to maximise the impact of government investment in innovation. Its core members include DECC, BIS, Carbon Trust, Energy Technologies Institute, Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise have recently joined the core group and several other organisations, included the other Devolved Administrations, are represented as associate members. Senior level meetings of the group are chaired jointly by the DECC Minister Greg Barker and the BIS Minister David Willetts.
  6. The LCICG’s Technology Innovation Needs Assessment (TINA) Project is collaborative effort involving all members of the LCICG group and aims to identify and value the key innovation needs of specific low carbon technology families, in order to inform the prioritisation of public sector investment in low carbon innovation.
  7. Further details of the TINA Project and copies of the Offshore Wind TINA Summary Report can be found on the websites of the LCICG’s members, including on DECC’s website.