Trevor floats new technology business in Sunderland

Trevor Hardcastle (front left) with Sunderland city council leader Coun Paul Watson and representatives of consortium members.
Trevor Hardcastle (front left) with Sunderland city council leader Coun Paul Watson and representatives of consortium members.
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An experienced engineer plans to transform the offshore energy sector.

Frontier Technical, which was set up by Trevor Hardcastle, has developed new technology to create modular floating offshore wind farms, expected to be more cost-effective, efficient and environmentally-friendly than conventional structures.

I have always admired Sunderland’s engineering capabilities, having started my career on a ship built in the city. To be able to set up my business here and tap into the skills and assets Sunderland has to offer all these years later is fantastic.

Trevor Hardcastle

The company has assembled a consortium, including Sunderland City Council, Port of Sunderland and Sunderland University, to take the Marlin Modular Floating Platform Project forward and received £300,000 funding from Innovate UK and co-funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Department for International Development.

Trevor chose to base Frontier Technical in Sunderland Software Centre after being offered advice and guidance from the council’s business investment team: “I believe this kind of disruptive technology could revolutionise the offshore market, not only in deep-water locations, which require floating structures, but in shallower water, where this technology will still work, and will be significantly easier to install and eventually decommission,” he said.

“The support the project has garnered, with the highest calibre partners now round the table really does hint at the vast potential this technology has, and I am really excited to work alongside them as we move this from concept, to prototype and eventually to market.”

The company has plans to open a facility to mass produce the float modules and the Port of Sunderland is ideally suited, with its new direct rail link and road connections and the New Wear Crossing due to be completed next year.

“The combination of a software-focused business space and the port just minutes down the road could not be better for Frontier,” said Trevor.

“I have always admired Sunderland’s engineering capabilities, having started my career on a ship built in the city. To be able to set up my business here and tap into the skills and assets Sunderland has to offer all these years later is fantastic.”

The company is currently testing a micro-version of the technology in the university’s Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice facility, and will eventually develop larger prototypes on site that will be tested off the coast of Sunderland, before the project advances.