United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Rough seas tool to support offshore wind operations

Researchers have produced a new data tool to help marine coordinators decide whether to send maintenance crews out to offshore wind farms in rough seas.

Unscheduled operations and maintenance activities account for nearly a quarter of lifetime costs at offshore wind farms (pic credit: Seacat, which was not involved in the study)
Unscheduled operations and maintenance activities account for nearly a quarter of lifetime costs at offshore wind farms (pic credit: Seacat, which was not involved in the study)

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It is hoped that the new data-driven model can help make crew transfers more successful and prevent delays due to technicians suffering from seasickness.

The tool provides information on environmental conditions and vessel design, and how they impact technicians and cause seasickness.

ORE Catapult, which coordinated the study, explained that unscheduled operations and maintenance activities account for nearly a quarter of lifetime costs at offshore wind farms. Large amounts of time are wasted on failed crew transfers or delays in operations due to workers’ seasickness, it added.

Andrew Stormonth-Darling, ORE Catapult’s project manager, said: “The model and tool will improve the health, safety and wellbeing of technicians and the productivity of offshore wind farms, allowing wind farm marine coordinators to make more informed decisions on vessel design for particular sites and when to authorise transits.”

Researchers assessed how various vessel types behave in different weather conditions, using data gathered both in laboratories and out in the field. 

They also gathered empirical data from the technicians themselves during transit over a period of several months.

Fiona Earle of the University of Hull, one of the research partners, said the project had greatly advanced the understanding of how seasickness affects offshore technicians, thus providing “useful guidance for operators”.

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