Floating offshore wind is an essential ingredient for the UK’s energy future. Only by pushing installations into deeper waters will we be able to meet our net-zero targets by 2050.
Floating wind will bring investment and support direct and indirect jobs, often in economically and socially deprived areas. In the UK alone, studies have shown that floating wind could create 29,000 jobs and generate £43 billion for the UK economy by 2050.
The Cornwall Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) Accelerator project is a collaborative research project led by Celtic Sea Power and involving the University of Plymouth, University of Exeter and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult. It focuses on the development of research tools and acquisition of validation data, which will form the basis of a knowledge and technology exchange to help transform the region into a world-leader in floating offshore wind.
The overarching aims of the project include:
The Cornwall FLOW Accelerator project will start to unlock between 15 – 50GW of the 150-250 GW total floating offshore wind capacity that could realistically be developed in the Celtic Sea region between the UK and Ireland, contributing to the creation nationally of 29,000 UK jobs and £43bn of GVA1.
This £6m project has been approved/ funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and will run until June 2023.
As part of the Cornwall FLOW Accelerator project, ORE Catapult plays a vital role in the delivery of two key work packages.
The first of these is analysing the feasibility of reducing the carbon footprint of floating wind turbine component’s manufacturing process, including its blades, tower and foundations. Our experts will undertake critical analysis of current and potential manufacturing processes, considering cost, time, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and risk levels. ORE Catapult will also develop a specification for manufacturing facilities, taking into consideration carbon footprint, location, and local supply chain capabilities, as well as Cornish business appetite to make significant investment in the creation of this new opportunity.
The Catapult will work with partners to support the development of a strong and capable local supply chain, through the delivery of workshops and events as well as working with our Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence and the Celtic Sea Cluster to bring together a range of industry stakeholders with common issues and challenges that innovative SMEs can address.
In the second work package, ORE Catapult will establish the data platform for the development of the FLOW Simulator (FLOWSim). The simulator will model project design, installation, operation and maintenance, focusing on both lifecycle costs and a net-zero carbon approach. As part of this, our experts will collect, analyse, design, build and populate an extensive database that delivers a “central” data server providing repository, analysis and simulation source data for the FLOWSim.
Initially we will use this to model the deployment of 500MW arrays to enable the analysis of ports and logistics pinch points and determine the rate of deployments. This information will be used to inform discussions with project developers and the supply chain.