Offshore wind technicians who are tired of getting caught short on the high seas could soon be spared the discomfort and embarrassment thanks to a newly-developed, in-turbine toilet.
Pegasus Welfare Solutions, of Norfolk, said it had secured a worldwide patent for the unit, the first of which is expected to be installed in a demonstration turbine in Fife.
Pegasus owner and managing director Dan Greeves worked with Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult on the unit’s design at the innovation centre’s 7MW Levenmouth turbine.
Mr Greeves said the unit, which comes at a charge of just 50p a day, would enhance productivity by cutting down on the need for ladder climbs and crew transfers to vessels.
Mr Greeves, who worked offshore for more than 10 years, said: “The government wants every home to be powered by offshore wind by 2030, My ambition is for every turbine to have an in-tower toilet. Its benefits make it a compelling offer.
“No one has come up with the technology before. Our unit comes with its own water and power supply and take no resources from the turbine.
“Waste is secured in a sealed cassette that a technician fits at the start of the shift and removes at the end and takes it away to be cleaned.”
Lorna Bennet, project engineer at ORE Catapult, said: “Minimising human presence offshore is a strategic priority for the industry, but it cannot be avoided entirely.
“This means that innovations in safety and welfare remain a priority, particularly as offshore turbines are growing in number and size, pushing ever further offshore.
“Crew transfer to and from a vessel over rolling waves can be unpleasant at any time, even more so when you need to use a toilet and each transfer increases the risks associated with working offshore.
“This first installation of the Pegasus Welfare unit at our Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine heralds a welcome improvement in offshore working.”
One technician manager said the news was well overdue: “Officially technicians should call the crew transfer vessel or use the installation vessel or service operation vessel, but to save time bottles are used or, to be blunt, they go over the side.
“I have had many complaints about bags of not very pleasant waste being left in turbines in the past during installation phases.”
Pegasus recently won a £150,000 order to provide portable toilets and washing stations on all three offshore substations on the Moray East wind farm.
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