News from our Members and Partners

13 January 2020

Automous Vessel Animation Launched from Houlder

As part of an ongoing commitment to innovation within the clean energy sector, Houlder has devised an unmanned remotely controlled vessel concept that will cut costs and boost safety for offshore wind farm maintenance.

A team comprising Houlder Naval Architects Arun Pillai, Akhil Nair, David Pugh, James Russell and Marta Więcka and Mechanical Engineers Luiz Deminicis and Jonathan Heathcote worked on the project.

The work formed part of the joint industry Windfarm Autonomous Ship Project (WASP). This explored the technical, regulatory and societal issues related to using autonomous surface vessels to support offshore wind farm operations and maintenance.

The project, part funded by Innovate UK, set out to verify the benefits and build the case for the use of autonomous vessels. L3 Harris, SeaPlanner, ORE Catapult and the University of Portsmouth also contributed expertise and resources to create a future vision for windfarms operations.

Previous research has found that vessels can account for as much as 60% of an offshore wind farm’s operating costs, of which crewing makes up a significant proportion. These costs could be significantly reduced through crew-free transfer of cargoes between shore and offshore wind turbines.

Human error during cargo handling has also been proved to be the primary cause of accidents. Houlder has developed a concept vessel that could improve performance while remaining practical and cost-effective to build and operate.

Projects aimed at driving efficiencies, such as this, alongside similar innovations in emission reduction and alternative fuel use, are becoming more central to Houlder’s business as clean energy increases in importance.



Houlder is an independent provider of all forms of offshore engineering, marine equipment, project management, design and analysis. Working from offices across the UK and in the USA, Houlder supports its clients through each stage of the project lifecycle – from the initial concept through design, engineering, construction, commissioning, installation, start-up, delivery, operation and disposal. w: