Pioneering UMACK Anchor Completes On-Land Trials

Image courtesy of UMACK
Image courtesy of UMACK

Published Dec 28, 2021 9:06 AM by The Maritime Executive


A pioneering marine anchor solution has successfully completed on-land trials validating the technology and sealing approval for full-scale production and ocean deployment.

The UMACK (Universal Mooring, Anchor & Connectivity Kit) Project has developed a unique mooring and anchoring solution in a bid to supersede traditional ‘gravity-based’ and tubular monopile anchors – reducing CAPEX, installation and O&M (Operational & Maintenance) costs by more than 50%.

After undergoing rigorous field trials in northern Portugal, the novel technology is now rapidly advancing through full-scale production ahead of ocean deployment. The UMACK system will be integrated with wave energy developer, CorPower Ocean’s first commercial-scale WEC (Wave Energy Converter), as a key part of the overall flagship HiWave-5 Ocean Demonstration Project.

This recent field trial build upon previous successful stages of the anchor test programme at the world-class scaled anchor centrifuge testing facility at University of Dundee (UoD), and on-land testing at the world-renowned Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy System (IWES) in cooperation with the Test Centre for Support Structures (TTH) of the Leibniz University of Hannover. Cross validated results coming from the multi-location and scale test programme indicate several leaps in performance including:

Suitable for sand/soil seabeds where large tensile loads need to be resisted
Tensile holding capacity of upto 15MN per Anchor
Low Anchor mass vs Holding capacity at only 45te
Resistant to cyclic loading (aka “Pile Ratcheting”)
Can be 100% De-commissioned (nothing left in seabed)
Negligible impact to Marine Mammals during Installation

“We are pleased to report the Portuguese field trials have been concluded successfully providing the green light for full-scale manufacture and ocean demo,” said UMACK Project Manager Matt Dickson. “The tests were designed to ensure the anchor could be installed and decommissioned in sandy conditions, on land, as close to the deployment site as possible. The test programme has allowed us to verify the anchor’s holding capacity in as close to ‘real-life’ conditions as possible before ocean deployment of the full-scale anchor, not far from this field trial site. Importantly we have also been able to successfully align and back up the results previously observed at UoD and IWES and prove that the Vibrohammer install methodology is working successfully. The UMACK technology is being developed as a universal solution for a broad range of marine energy applications and seabed types. We believe it has the capacity to transform the mooring and anchoring process across the marine energy space addressing key issues of affordability, durability and reliability.”

CorPower Portugal Country Manager Miguel Silva said the HiWave-5 ocean deployment project is now gathering pace, with teams being mobilised on the ground in northern Portugal.
“The initial anchor lay is pivotal, providing a solid foundation for our wave energy converter to operate in extreme Atlantic conditions,” said Miguel. “The UMACK system provides us with a series of unique benefits, including quick-connection and full-surface operation, removing the need for dive support. This not only streamlines marine operations for the installation process but also the retrieval of our WECs for maintenance, helping maximise operational windows.”

The UMACK Project is led by a European consortium including geotechnical specialist Ternan Energy, wave and tidal energy developers CorPower Ocean and Sustainable Marine, mooring experts TTI Marine Renewables, EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre) and marine renewable energy modelling experts from the University of Edinburgh.

UMACK is funded by Scottish Enterprise and the Swedish Energy Agency with co-funding from the OCEANERA-NET COFUND (via the European Commission under Horizon 2020).

The products and services herein described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.