STL Research awarded further funding to accelerate development of offshore personnel-access system

We are pleased to announce that we have recently been awarded further funding by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board to accelerate our project to develop an offshore personnel-access system.

The system, called ‘Neptune’, will use a space-stabilised, articulated arm to safely transfer personnel and equipment to fixed offshore structures such as wind turbines and oil/gas platforms. The system will be capable of lifting as much as 1000 Kg to heights of up to 28 metres above sea level and will compensate for all six degrees of vessel motion (including up to 4.5 metres of heave). Neptune will increase safety by eliminating the need for personnel to jump and climb when transferring to offshore structures and will also increase the efficiency of maintenance operations by allowing people and equipment to be transferred at the same time.

The funding, through the Technology Strategy Board’s Smart scheme, will allow us to develop the Neptune concept into a fully-functioning prototype to be tested at sea. We will work with Det Norske Veritas (DNV) during the development of the prototype to ensure that production units are independently certified as ‘Fit for Service’.

The Technology Strategy Board helped to fund the concept phase of the Neptune project and we are delighted that they have now agreed to assist with development of our sea-going prototype. The funding will accelerate the project and shorten the time taken to bring the Neptune system to market.

We recently participated in the EWEA Offshore 2013 conference in Frankfurt. Our paper and an illustrated poster are both entitled, “Application of space-stabilisation technology to offshore wind operations and maintenance” and can be accessed on STL website (