Catapults
NATIONAL LAUNCH ACADEMY

Technology Challenges

We are independent and neutral, and our unparalleled industry knowledge, combined with wide stakeholder engagement experience at all levels of the value chain, means we are well-versed in the technology challenges and opportunities that exist in the sector. Working with our Launch Academy partners, we’ve identified a series of technology challenges, the solutions to which could provide the products and services of the future.

Increasing survey efficiency and reduced overall cost of development phase environmental monitoring

Floating LiDAR (FLiDAR) systems are routinely used in the offshore environment to gather important data on wind speed and direction as well as other meteorological data, providing this to developers in real-time. Developers also routinely need to gather important environmental data to inform their offshore wind developments. With advances in environmental monitoring technology, the floating platforms hosting LiDAR equipment could also host other equipment to track key species of interest such as ornithology, marine mammals, bats, fish etc. This could save developers significant time, money and reduce H&S risks often associated with other environmental monitoring programmes. We would like challengers to propose technologies that improve environmental monitoring which can be deployed on FLiDAR platforms, improve the range of measurements possible from FLiDAR or work alongside FliDAR.

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Zero-emission crew transfer vessel operations

Cost of zero-emissions vessels has been identified as an early barrier to their deployment in the offshore wind industry. ScottishPower Renewables is interested in measures to reduce costs and enable their usage in the sector. ScottishPower Renewables is looking for any solution that has the potential to enable zero-emissions Crew Transfer Vessel (CTV) operations without impacting on its operating requirements

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Minimising the impact of offshore wind on natural ecosystems

Wind energy is one of the most efficient ways to reduce emissions in the power sector. It drives decarbonisation while contributing to economic growth and is a leading element of the shift to renewable power generation globally. However, at a local level, conflicts may arise between wind generation and nature conservation. Offshore wind developments may result in habitat loss or habitat fragmentation,  bird collisions with turbines and noise disturbance to marine mammals especially during the construction phase of projects. bp is interested in findings ways to mitigate these issues.

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Improving inter-array cabling to enable efficient maintenance of large-scale floating offshore wind farms

A key challenge area for floating wind is the need for improved solutions to long-term maintenance of offshore floating wind structures. Deeper water is a particular challenge for major component replacement as it is too deep for most jack-up vessels. “Tow to port” is a maintenance strategy considered for offshore floating wind farms, however, to be effective the time the asset is away (disconnected) needs to be minimized. bp is interested in finding solutions around disconnection, storage, and reconnection of inter-array cables on floating assets.

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Addressing the variability of renewable power production to accelerate the decarbonisation of oil & gas production

Offshore oil & gas production assets – such as FPSOs, semi-submersibles and platforms – consume considerable amounts of power in operation. Across the industry, this energy is typically derived from fossil sources currently. In order to reduce operational emissions, renewable wind energy can be used to provide power to the asset instead. However, a key challenge is in overcoming the intermittency inherent in using a resource that varies with the local wind conditions. bp is interested in finding solutions around intermittency to accelerate the electrification of oil and gas assets.

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Integrating autonomous vessels into offshore logistics operations

Development of the technology to operate autonomous vessels to and within a wind farm is already well underway, however, there are challenges to this technology fulfilling its full potential. bp is interested in finding ways to address these challenges to ease the adoption of autonomous vessels into the construction, operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms.

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Open category

The UK has the largest installed offshore wind capacity in the world, with 9.8 gigawatts (GW) installed. Over the next decade, there will be a huge expansion of offshore wind around the world with some estimates envisaging a 17% annual growth from 22GW to 154GW in total installed capacity by 2030. In the UK, this could see offshore wind contributing up to 30GW of generating capacity. The UK economic opportunities from our sector are significant too. This includes the development of high-tech solutions right across the board in plant and machinery, installation and operations. The sheer volume of opportunities that will arise from improved and innovative manufacturing techniques,  servicing, data collection and digitalisation processes lend themselves to the enabling of new and emerging sectors that the UK is already beginning to capture, including battery storage, AI and robotics. The open category is inviting innovative solutions that can support the development of next-generation wind farms and improve the efficiency of current wind farms.

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