Digital twins could help offshore wind foundation designers cut steel use and the associated costs by 30%, according to new research.
Swiss engineering simulation technology firm Akselos and United Arab Emirates-based marine engineers Lamprell carried out their research on jacket foundations. But they believe digital twins — virtual representations of physical objects or processes — could also be used for other offshore wind foundation designs.
Having a digital twin allows the user to analyse different foundation designs and decide on the optimal design, the research partners found.
This would then lead to reduced material use as it prevents inefficient designs being manufactured, trialled and used in a commercial setting, they added.
The partners carried out their EU-funded research using Akselos’ Massachusetts Institute of Technology-licenced simulation technology reduced-basis finite element analysis (RB-FEA) simulation technology, which enables developers to analyse real-time data feeds.
It also allows users to test multiple design alternatives in thousands of scenarios and and in high-fidelity, taking just minutes, they explained.
Lamprell now plans to apply the findings to reduce the amount of steel it uses to build foundations for offshore wind turbines, as well as for oil and gas infrastructure.