A €3.6 million European project to study the psychological and physiological wellbeing of crew being transferred to offshore wind farms in rough waters, has produced a sail/no sail decision-support tool for marine coordinators, as well as a new understanding of seasickness and how it develops.
The two-year DemoWind2-funded Improving the Safety and Productivity of Offshore Wind Technicians in Transit (SPOWTT) project, coordinated by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult through its O&M Centre of Excellence collaboration with the University of Hull, completed in March 2020. The project involved seven partners from across Europe, including Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE), the University of Hull, marine coordinators SMC Ltd, Dutch research institutes MARIN and TNO, and BMO Offshore, a data service provider to the offshore wind industry.
The data-driven model seeks to understand the complex relationship between environmental conditions and vessel design and their combined impact on technicians and has given us a new understanding of seasickness and how likely it is to develop. Studies were carried out, both in the field and in controlled conditions, on various vessel types to understand how they behave in different weather conditions. Empirical data was also gathered directly from the technicians themselves during transit over a period of several months.
TNO used this seasickness model, coupled with vessel behaviour data from MARIN (validated with measurements by BMO), to provide more realistic logistics simulations to assist offshore wind farm planners. UK marine consultants SMC Ltd. is building on this to commercialise decision-support software aimed at marine coordinators, which could transform the industry’s approach to technician-led operations and maintenance activities.