Shetland Composites Expansion

by Tom Morton -

Shetland Composites, based in Lerwick, is undertaking an expansion in order to enhance production and manufacturing facilities.

The company, led by Owner/Director Fred Gibson, has been awarded £69,774 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) towards the extension to its current workshop premises on the Staney Hill Industrial Park in Lerwick.

The main areas in which Shetland Composites operates are Glass Reinforced Plastics (GRP) products such as storage containers, navigation lights, equipment for the aquaculture industry and now full size tidal machine blades. The company also specialises in bespoke requests and pioneering prototype production involving GRP.

The business has grown significantly since its move from Gremista in 2012, but there is still scope to expand on the current site. The new extension will create a temperature controlled area, dedicated ‘clean’ space for working with electronics and new office and reception area. The new extension will also increase capacity at the company, allowing it to take on more work and an additional two employees.

Fred Gibson from Shetland Composites, said: “This is a big step for us as up until now most of our work in the marine renewable sector over many years has been in the development of prototype devices. Now finally these projects are scaling up and becoming commercial viable.”

Katrina Wiseman from Highlands and Islands Enterprise said “Shetland Composites has the experience and ambition to further develop and grow out with Shetland, particularly in the energy and aquaculture markets. We are delighted to support Shetland Composites with their expansion which will further strengthen their national and international capabilities, contributing to the growth of the marine energy sector in Shetland.”

Shetland Composites has collaborated with UK and international academic institutions including the Universities of Oxford and Strathclyde. The company has a working relationship with Edinburgh Designs Ltd, a world leader in the design and production of wave tanks for research purposes, at present Fred and his team are building wave makers for projects in USA, Croatia and Ireland.

It was recently announced by the Scottish Government that Shetland Composites secured a six month contract from Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation who is developing five 100kW tidal turbines known as the Shetland Tidal Array.

The turbines, which sit more than 100ft below the waves, will be developed in two phases with commissioning of the first three devices by the end of 2015. Shetland Composites will manufacture the blades for the tidal turbines.

Scottish Enterprise and the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) are supporting Nova Innovation with £1.9 million of grant and loan funding for the tidal array project.