Shot in the arm for Wales’s floating wind supply chain

The Welsh supply chain for Marine Power Systems’ Pelaflex floating wind platform has received a boost, with Innovate UK pledging £800,000 to keep manufacturing as local as possible.


Swansea-based Marine Power Systems (MPS) has been developing its Pelaflex system for several years, a tetrahedral platform designed to tap into the floating wind opportunity in the Celtic Sea and beyond.

The new funding will help establish Launchpad, a project to bolster the South Wales supply chain that will support the fabrication, manufacture and deployment of Pelaflex.

Led by MPS, the Launchpad consortium also features Swansea University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ledwood Mechanical EngineeringTata Steel UKABP (Associated British Ports) Port Talbot, and the Port of Milford Haven.

According to the consortium partners, Launchpad will optimise PelaFlex's structural efficiency, paying particular attention to the challenging environment in the Celtic Sea, while minimising the cost of materials and deployment. This includes using strip steel manufactured in Port Talbot, components fabricated by local suppliers, and assembly and rollout using existing ports in southwest Wales.

“With the deployment of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea becoming a reality, the time is absolutely right to work with local supply chain to optimise the detailed design of our technology and maximise its deliverability,” Graham Foster, chief technology officer at Marine Power Systems said in a statement.

“A good example of that, is that we are confident that through this project we will be able to optimise our platform design to increase the amount of local steel used to fabricate it from around 10 per cent to over 50 per cent.”

Swansea University will provide design modelling input, while Pembrokeshire-based Ledwood will help maximise the extent to which local suppliers can support fabrication. Associated British Ports and the Port of Milford Haven will ensure that the platform can be assembled and deployed from those locations whilst minimising the additional investment required.

“It is a great opportunity to be working with MPS, Ledwood, Tata Steel, the Port of Milford Haven and ABP Port Talbot to deliver this exciting project,” said Dr Will Harrison, senior lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at Swansea University.  

“Each of the partners brings different and complementary expertise to this engineering challenge, and the project really showcases the potential of industry in southwest Wales. MPS has developed a world-class concept which we are really excited to help them optimise, using experience in computation techniques at Swansea University and to support local industry.”