Innovation Challenges

We have identified a number of specific technology innovation challenges within the offshore renewable energy industry, the resolution of which will help drive down the cost of offshore renewable energy, and have a positive impact on the UK economy.

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Introduction

We are working with Blyth Offshore Wind Demonstration Ltd and BAM Wind Energy JV on the FSFOUND project. The project will demonstrate and validate float-and-submerge gravity-based foundations (GBF) that have the potential to impact positively upon the development of deep-water offshore wind farms (>35 metres) and lower the cost of offshore wind energy.

 

 

Project objectives

FSFOUND will demonstrate the feasibility of GBFs, which will be used during the installation of the Blyth Offshore Wind Farm in 2017, at all critical project stages.

  • To move the FS GBF foundation from Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 to 7, thereby verifying the RDI initiative.
  • To verify the manufacturing and installation methodology and benefit from the lessons learnt in order to optimise plans for the future transnational exploitation of GBFs;
  • To minimise potential delays and cost overruns through the development of multiple installation scenarios against a meteorological model.
  • To compare the actual costs and performance with the cost-benefit analysis performed;
  • To design and install a condition monitoring system on two GBFs to monitor their behaviour;
  • To assess the structural response to extreme and fatigue loads on the GBFs and compare theoretical loads with real ones.

We are designing and commissioning a sensor system for the GBFs. By synchronising these data with the turbine and data from ORE Catapult’s met mast, we plan to analyse the performance of the foundations in the challenging conditions they are exposed to.

 

Potential benefits

  • Lower installation costs by employing standard tugs and self-buoyancy rather than specialised vessels.
  • Lower costs during the operational phase as a result of reduced inspection and maintenance.
  • Fabricate and deploy the GBF in physical proximity to the to the offshore site.
  • Increased deployment of WTGs in sites where piling is not technically feasible.

 


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