United Kingdom

United Kingdom

New wave thinking: Offshore R&D project focuses on water rather than wind

The Danish utility Ørsted and the UK research group the O&M Centre of Excellence have teamed up on a £400,000 R&D wave-forecasting project for the offshore wind sector.

New R&D project focuses on water and wave prediction rather than wind speeds (Pic credit: Rope Partner)
New R&D project focuses on water and wave prediction rather than wind speeds (Pic credit: Rope Partner)

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The £2 million collaboration between the University of Hull and researchers ORE Catapult focuses on modelling work to drive efficiency through a significant reduction in missed working days.

It argues that improving the accuracy of sea forecasting — at individual turbine level — will cut the levelised cost of energy (LCoE) of offshore wind. The researchers believe missed working days could be cut by a quarter.

To achieve this, downward-facing radars have been installed at Ørsted’s Burbo Bank Extension wind farm off Liverpool’s coastline to record the wave height, direction and periods of rolling waves around the turbines. Together with combined met-ocean data and existing forecast, the team believes the model will be able to increase the safety of offshore workers. 

Late in June, the offshore watchdog G+ Offshore Wind Health and Safety Organisation recorded a rise in wind injuries tied to lost workdays.

Ørsted’s R&D roadmap manager wrote: “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.”

Rob Dorrell, from the energy and environment institute at the University of Hull and the project’s lead, believes its wave forecasting model will give much greater accuracy and “granular insight” into the sea conditions within an offshore wind farm than current methods can provide.

“This project is tackling critical challenges in operations and maintenance at the interface of offshore wind and the hostile marine environment,” he said. 

Last month, ORE Catapult hit a major milestone on its Mimree pilot to bring on board inspection drones and ‘six-legged blade crawlers with robotic arms’ to fix offshore wind turbines in extreme marine environments .

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