The UK’s national Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Centre of Excellence has partnered with global offshore wind leader Ørsted in a £400k project to develop an innovative approach to sea state forecasting, which aims to deliver a significant reduction in missed working days.
The Humber-based O&M Centre of Excellence (OMCE) is a £2 million collaboration between the University of Hull and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult to drive solution-focused innovation and improvements in O&M.
The project team, led by academics from the University of Hull, is working closely with Ørsted to help improve wave forecast modelling with direct industrial impact. The model will contribute to improving the accuracy of sea state forecasting at an individual offshore wind turbine level with the potential to drive efficiency gains in operations and maintenance, increasing safety, as well as contribute to further reductions in the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) for offshore wind.
Turbine accessibility is a key determinant of a wind farm’s profitability. Technicians attempting to undertake maintenance can face a number of barriers to safe access, which in turn can be a factor in limiting turbine performance and ultimately overall energy output of a wind farm. This new project will result in a wave forecasting model that will give greater accuracy and offer a more granular insight into the sea state within an offshore wind farm than current state-of-the-art methods can.
With total O&M costs contributing around 25% to the lifetime costs of a typical offshore wind farm, the positive impact on planning by owners/operators is clear, with ORE Catapult analysis suggesting that innovations in forecasting techniques could help to reduce missed working days by a quarter. This project highlights how vital innovation is in achieving the ambitious targets of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, with the previous commitment by Government and industry to install at least 30GW of offshore wind by 2030 recently revised to 40GW.
Multiple downward-facing radar have been installed at turbines at Ørsted’s Burbo Bank Extension wind farm off Liverpool to record wave height, direction and period together with combined met-ocean data and existing forecasts. This big-marine-data approach, along with bathymetry and site configuration data, is enabling researchers to produce an artificial intelligence-based method that will be used to make a step-change in the resolution and accuracy of fine-scale at offshore windfarm sites.
Lucas Marion, R&D roadmap manager Wind & Wave said:
Safe access to turbines is a key factor in O&M planning in the offshore wind industry and having a greater insight into the localised, intra-array sea states and wave heights is a valuable resource. The UK is the world leader in offshore wind and if we are to maintain this position while continuing to bring down costs, collaboration between industry and academia is an important factor. Therefore, we’re pleased to be partnering with the O&M Centre of Excellence on this project.
Project lead Dr Rob Dorrell, from the Energy & Environment Institute at the University of Hull, said:
This project is tackling critical challenges in operations and maintenance at the interface of offshore wind and the hostile marine environment. We are delighted to translate state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and remote monitoring systems to provide new solutions and methods to meet industrial challenges, enabling the drive towards enhanced cost-efficiency in offshore wind, thus furthering its viability as a clean energy solution. My colleagues and I – Drs Evdokia Tapoglou and Rodney Forster – are very much enjoying working with our partners on this collaboration, adding value and impact to an industry challenge.
Johnathan Love, ORE Catapult’s project manager added:
“With Ørsted, the University of Hull and the Catapult coming together on this project, we are combining insight into real industry challenges with cutting-edge academic research to develop new products to improve offshore wind operations and maintenance and wind farm efficiency and performance.”
Led by the University of Hull, Ørsted and ORE Catapult are also partners in Aura, a powerful collaboration that brings together a wide range of experts to deliver continuous innovation of the offshore wind sector.