The G+ Global Offshore Wind Health & Safety Organisation, in partnership with ORE Catapult, KTN, and the Workboat Association, have recognised five organisations for a cross-sector innovation challenge to help adjust the offshore wind sector continue operations during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

As social distancing impacts the number of offshore wind turbine technicians permitted to undertake wind farm inspections and repairs, additional measures to help boost operational safety are in high demand.

This initiative is made possible by the Knowledge Transfer Network innovation eXchange (KTN-iX) which works to match industry challenges from large companies to organisations, often from other sectors, which have innovative technology and can offer solutions to those challenges.

From the five companies selected as finalists, demonstrations are ongoing with two firms – Flameskill, a fire, and safety firm, and Entex, health and safety designer and manufacturer.

Flameskill has developed a CTAS particle filtration head top designed to protect users from solid and liquid particles and micro-organisms to ensure the safety of technicians in a confined working space.

Entex, in turn, has created Disinfex Booth and a portable disinfecting unit, which generates a dry fog of non-toxic disinfectant that kills viruses, pathogens, and bacteria.

G+ general manager Kate Harvey said: “For offshore wind, the pandemic presents additional challenges in what is already a complex working environment. We’ve been impressed at the breadth and ingenuity shown in response to our call for proposals.

“As offshore wind capacity grows, the sector continues to work tirelessly to uphold the highest safety standards. These varying solutions will allow vital operations to be carried out in a more efficient and safe manner.”

Other notable projects include: Canary Sentinel, with its early warning service for symptoms related to Covid-19 via a real-time health monitoring app; Sea Sure, which has designed an air filtration and extraction hood on transfer vessels, allowing crew members to be seated in close proximity; and Life’s Shield, which is running a research and development project to validate a UV light unit that kills viruses and pathogens almost instantly while being safe for humans.

KTN knowledge transfer manager energy John Ransford said: “We were delighted with the level of responses on KTN-iX to this Covid-19 challenge. It was a crucial problem to solve for this industry, but we can also see potential for cross-over into other transport modes.

“The transfer of skills and knowledge from other sectors is a key driver for the iX platform and allows the challenge holder to explore potential solutions they might not otherwise have considered or been able to access easily.  We are keen to see the results of the demonstrations.”