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Getting power to remote areas for construction can be a headache for infrastructure developers, but a JV between an English firm and a Bahrain-based shipbuilder aims to simplify portable power
With the rate of industrial and civilian expansion in the Middle East ever increasing, getting power to remote regions during construction of infrastructure, industrial areas or new housing projects can be a logistical nightmare.
But an English power infrastructure construction firm has teamed up with a Bahrain-based shipbuilding company to construct what it thinks an effective answer to the problem – efficient and highly mobile floating power barges.
Headquartered in Devon, England, Centrax has been building generator sets for some 60 years, and has a well-established history in constructing offshore structures for the oil and gas industry.
Earlier this year, the company announced it had formed a joint venture with the Bahrain-based Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard (ASRY), in order to equip a multi-application power barge with twin Rolls-Royce Trent 60 aeroderivative gas turbine generator sets,
in an attempt to become a leader in the barge-mounted power station market.
While the idea of a power barge isn’t a new one, Peter Ward, General Manager, Sales and Marketing at Centrax, explains that several elements set the ASRY-Centrax Ltd unit apart from existing offerings.
“There’s nothing particularly new about power barges, but what we’re doing here is trying to produce a high-quality and high efficiency version of the power barge. We’re using the Rolls-Royce Trent 60 gas turbine in the generator packages, which is the most power-dense and high-powered turbine available, so that immediately gives you a very high power density on the barge,” he says.
“We’re looking at doing this as a pre-designed product, rather than as a specific
designed product for an application. Hence we formed the joint venture with ASRI to bring together our expertise on the packaging of the generator sets, with ASRI’s marine infrastructure for building barges.
It’s the first time it’s been done as a joint venture in a pre-designed application, rather than as a main contractor contracting for a specific application,” says Ward.
While it’s the first time the firm has attempted a power barge, Centrax does already have long experience in the offshore power construction market.
“We’ve done offshore platforms before - this is the first time we’ve build a generator set on a barge,” he says, “But obviously we’ve packaged very similar equipment before.
We had some connections into several potential projects and customers, so we saw that there was a need for it.
We soon realised that the key to some of the sales is actually pre-built fast delivery, because a lot of the applications are for natural disasters, and also to get power into remote areas while land-based power stations are under construction.”
While Ward says that the packaging for barge is very similar to a land-based package, some modifications around upgraded filtration, marine coatings and other subtle differences are required.
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