The journey of the new laboratory to assess materials, components and equipment in a real offshore environment has begun

15 December 2021
Botadura del HarshLab

The new HashLab laboratory offers the offshore industry unique testing and R&D capabilities

The final version of HarshLab, the new floating laboratory for the evaluation of materials, components and equipment in a real offshore environment, has recently been launched in the Port of Bilbao.

Five years have gone by since the conception of the HarshLab, and more than three years since the successful operation of its sister lab in open sea, offering valuable information to companies in relation to the corrosion, ageing and fouling of its materials in a marine environment. The new laboratory is floating in the port, waiting for a window of good weather and sea conditions to enable it to be towed and anchored off the coast of Armintza in BiMEP.

We would like to thank our colleagues, the experts in Offshore Renewable Energies at TECNALIA , as well as the staff at IDOM for the work carried out to bring this ambitious initiative to fruition.

About the new HarshLab

The new HarshLab will be connected to the grid and communications network thanks to an umbilical cable which will connect the lab to BiMEP's underwater network as of next summer. Thanks to this connection, HarshLab will be able to test the operation of equipment on board and make it easier to handle loads by means of several embedded systems: hydraulic crane, outer davit and inner hoists.

The laboratory is 8.5 m in diameter with a total height of 7 m with a displacement of 120 tonnes. It will be able to test more samples and equipment than the previous version in the same exposure areas: atmospheric, splash and immersion. This new version will also allow tests to be performed in the hold and to lower samples to the seabed at a depth of 65 metres.

Other unique equipment includes two openings in the seabed to test connectors, risers and umbilicals; an underwater modem to connect submerged elements to the surface; its own weather station; and a small underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) on board. The communications system sends all the signals that are obtained on board through the optical fibres of the structure’s umbilical cable.

Further information