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“We build the basic generator set in the UK, ship that out to the ASRY shipyard in Bahrain where, as far as we can, it’s fully commissioned in the yard – it’s a power station ready to go,” he says.
“It’ll then be taken off to areas of need, and at the moment the main areas of interest seem to be from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, where there’s large power shortages, right across to the Far East and the Philippines.
With most of the company’s equipment – Ward estimates 90 per cent – exported, most of the work to ruggedise installations for harsh environments has already been done. “We currently have projects in Siberia, which goes down to minus 50 degrees, and equipment in the Sahara, which goes up to 55 degrees,” Ward says.
“We’ve combined all that knowledge to come up with, in effect, a hybrid, but primarily for the barges, we’re looking at the higher temperatures rather than cooler.”
The joint venture is currently in the process of building the first barge, and is working on firming up orders for some specific customer built units, and the
plan is to continue to self-finance the ongoing build.
“We wouldn’t go off and build five or six without orders,” Ward says, “but there are several scenarios. We are talking to potential customers about building several barges that they will rent out, and we would build those to order. They would be financed by the customer, and they would be available to be installed wherever required.
“We are also talking to customers about specific projects where they would buy, install and operate the barges under a normal IPP agreement. We’re starting to build the first barge to kick the whole thing off, not waiting for a specific order, to get the concept launched and moving forward.”
Each power barge is capable of giving 64 megawatts at the terminals, which translates to a net export of 125 megawatts.
“Two or more of these self-contained units can be linked together, which makes a nice-sized building block for large projects,” says Ward. “It maximises the power density of the barge, and obviously that reduces the cost per kilowatt down to what we think is marketable.”
The Rolls-Royce Trent engines are also a strategic choice. “The Trent is at the forefront of gas turbine technology, hence its very high efficiency,” Ward explains. “It’s very flexible and has a high power to weight density; it will start very quickly without any real impede on its maintenance cycle, and be ready to run at 100 per
cent load within ten minutes of a cold start.”
The unit’s portability, however, is the key. At 82 metres in length, 28 metres in width and drawing 4.5 metres, it’s easily positioned close to shorelines or a fair distance up rivers.
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