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Innovative Materials Offshore...Roundtable interview with three of our seminar speakers

Institution News Team

Innovative Materials Offshore, 28 September 2022, Aberdeen
Innovative Materials Offshore, 28 September 2022, Aberdeen

Ahead of our Innovative Materials Offshore seminar, we caught up with three of the event's speakers as they discuss their roles and involvement with regards to the seminar, industry challenges and why it is important for engineers to attend.

Q: Please provide us with a brief overview of your current role as it relates to this event

Robin Hastings, Harbour Energy (RH): My role is as Group Technical Authority in the area of Pressurised Equipment for Harbour Energy. This includes providing technical assurance to our operated assets in the UK, Vietnam and Indonesia in all aspects of topsides pressure equipment, including materials and corrosion issues.

Bridie Evans, National Composites Centre (BE): My current role is focused on establishing opportunities for composites within the energy sector and how you deploy these technologies in an industrial setting.

Peter Foxton, Vryhof Anchors (PF): Engineering Manager with Vryhof Anchors, the leading drag embedment anchor designer and supplier to the offshore oil and gas and renewables sector, overseeing all engineering matters relating to R&D, design, manufacturing and installation.

Q: What do you see as the number one challenge for engineers when it comes to new materials?

RH: Working in a major accident hazard industry, we are bound by codes and standards, as well as the comfort that comes from decades of experience with existing materials. Overcoming these hurdles in a high risk environment takes a great deal of effort both on the technical side and the commercial aspects.

BE: Developing certification strategies for new materials is the number one challenge engineers of today face. As we look to deploy new materials in the energy market the greatest challenge for engineers is understanding the certification implications. Where standards and guidelines don’t currently exist, we need to be clear as to the technology and manufacturing development steps in order to satisfy safety considerations that drive our certification requirements.

PF: Understanding the behaviour of new/novel materials in existing applications, the benefits and possible disadvantages they may yield, and bringing them to the desired level of technology readiness for production.

Q: What contemporary technological developments or projects most interest you?

RH: Any projects where it can be demonstrated that manufacturing or installation efficiency can be increased, and waste decreased, all with no increased technical safety risk.

BE: How we better reduce waste and create a more circular manufacturing economy is key. State of the art sensing and machine intelligence and material recycling techniques will be vital in unlocking the future of manufacturing. While still to be fully understood and deployed within industry the current state of art sensing and monitoring technologies, as well as machine intelligence has an opportunity to help us unlock better manufacturing approaches whereby waste during the manufacturing process can be reduced. This as well as strategies for recycling of materials are key for us unlocking the future of a more circular manufacturing economy.

PF: Marine renewables, particularly floating offshore wind and wave/tidal energy conversion, and upstream oil and gas activities.

Q: How do you see the developments today impacting the road to net-zero for the energy industry?

RH: The road to net-zero is going to get increasingly more difficult to achieve as we continue to gather the low hanging fruit. As such, we need to grasp any gains we can and to help instil the values/attitudes needed to embed net-zero thinking.

BE: Localised manufacturing and reduced operational burden to reduce energy consumption is paramount on the road to net-zero. When we consider the road to net-zero the future energy grid mix for the UK will be a major driver. With offshore market growth alongside the UK's expertise in offshore and subsea systems, the energy transition has huge opportunities for the UK market. This alongside developments for raw materials and localised manufacturing is a major step towards meeting our targets for net-zero.

PF: Moving away from coal, oil and gas as energy sources and replacing them with renewable energy alternatives is a key factor, with marine renewables providing a significant part of this, in conjunction with the use of lower carbon footprint materials in the provision of these energy supplies.

Q: What will you be addressing in your presentation at the seminar?

RH: I will be presenting a range of challenges that we face in the offshore oil and gas industry that relate to materials, especially in the context of an ageing asset infrastructure.

BE: How we use composites to unlock potential for the UK market and support net-zero strategies is the key focus of my presentation. In the seminar I will be covering the drivers for exploring composites in the offshore market, the top questions you need to ask when considering the change from steel to composites as well as taking the audience through some examples before finishing on the topic of how this impacts sustainability through life and the implications of the move to net-zero.

PF: The use of synthetic alternatives to steel and concrete in the world of anchors and mooring systems.

Q: What other topics or speakers are you most looking forward to? 

RH: I'm interested to learn about case studies where novel manufacturing processes have been safely and effectively deployed, and to find out what was learned along the way.

BE: Quality assurance and verification challenges, as well as the innovation of materials from the regulator’s perspective. I'm very interested in hearing more about quality assurance and verification challenges, as well as the innovation of materials from the regulator’s perspective. These topics are key to allowing us to unlock the potential of new material deployment in the offshore energy market.

PF: Louise Atkin of HSE, and Ali Bahtui of DNV.

Q: Why is it so important for engineers to come together at this event?

RH: We all have a duty to strive towards good industry working practices. These are constantly evolving based on what other people in the industry are up to. Such events as this are essential in learning from others to understand what "good" looks like today.

BE: Learning from each other’s experience as well as providing us with an opportunity to create new networks and contacts is hugely important as we learn together how to navigate this future road map towards net-zero and energy transitions.

PF: Exchange of ideas and experiences is a vital part of the development of new materials in the offshore environment, learning from others in different but related fields, and sharing knowledge from one’s own applications.

The Innovative Materials Offshore seminar will be taking place on 28 September 2022 at the Aberdeen Altens Hotel.

Join this seminar to hear presentations that will address key questions around how innovations such as composite components and additive manufacturing are changing how operators work:

  • What cost, time, and maintenance benefits are operators seeing from using non-metallic materials?
  • How can new materials be qualified, inspected, and maintained?
  • How are safety and sustainability challenges being addressed?
  • How can offshore materials applications support the transition to net-zero through use in parallel environments such as renewables and CCS?

To book your place, please visit the event website.


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