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The results of eight floating wind technology innovation projects that were winners in a Scottish Government-funded competition have been published. The winning innovation projects include novel methods of monitoring and reducing mooring line loads and a new modular lifting solution for offshore component exchange.
Each winning project received a share of the £1 million fund along with industry guidance to undertake a range of activities, from desktop studies to offshore demonstration. The Floating Wind Technology Acceleration Competition (FLW TAC) was designed and run by the Carbon Trust’s Floating Wind Joint Industry Project (Floating Wind JIP). Summaries of the winning projects and the funded activities are given below:
Aker Solutions
Tow-to-port maintenance operations require the floating platform to be disconnected from the power array cables. These cables need to be stored safely offshore during maintenance. Aker Solutions developed a splice box concept connecting two dynamic array cables, allowing them to be wet-stored on the seabed when a turbine is towed to port. As the cables are electrically connected in the splice box, this will also enable an array of floating wind turbines to remain operational when one floating platform is removed for maintenance.
Conbit is a lifting contractor that offers alternatives to cranes and crane vessels with a strong engineering background. FLW TAC funding supported the development of the design of their modular lifting solution – a temporary platform installed at the top of the wind turbine (on top of the nacelle) which includes a crane to allow large components, such as a wind turbine blade or gearbox, to be replaced offshore. The project also evaluated different methods for carrying out heavy lifting of these components offshore.
Dublin Offshore
Dublin Offshore is an Irish engineering company that supplies marine energy solutions. The Load Reduction Device (LRD) is integrated in-line with the mooring system and passively delivers controlled mooring compliance in response to the movement of the floating platform. This dampening significantly reduces mooring dynamic load, delivering cost savings largely through CAPEX reductions on the platform and mooring line systems. Dublin Offshore first validated the technology through tank testing at 1:60 scale and obtained a Statement of Feasibility from DNV. A ¼ scale prototype was installed at an ocean test centre in Galway, Ireland and successfully completed 1,200 hours ocean testing including operation through 22m full-scale equivalent waves during Hurricane Epsilon.
Floating Wind Technology Company and RCAM Technologies
The Floating Wind Technology Company (FWTC) is a start-up company created to design and commercialise innovations in offshore wind including turbine components, control systems, floating substructures, anchors and hybrid-foundations. RCAM Technologies is a start-up that uses 3D printing technologies with concrete to manufacture wind turbine towers, foundations, and anchors, at or near the installation sites to reduce cost and increase domestic content.
The project developed detailed designs for a 3D-printed concrete suction anchor (3DSA) based on two sites in Scottish waters with different soil conditions, and examined the installation procedure for the 3DSA, including different forms of towing to site. In addition, key elements of the 3DSA design were printed using concrete 3D printing facilities in the Netherlands and the project also undertook an assessment of the feasibility of carrying out 3D concrete printing of the 3DSA on the quayside of a Scottish port.
Fugro, AS Mosley, and University of Strathclyde
The project team created a physics-based simulation model of the Hywind Scotland floating turbine and generated motion and position signals to demonstrate that a simple monitoring system installed on the floating hull could accurately determine the service life of its mooring system. Fatigue was estimated using traditional S-N curves and a state-of-the-art peridynamic analysis. These are key to targeting offshore inspection work at the locations it is needed most, thus reducing costs and improving safety. Such a remote and fully automated monitoring system was also able to identify anchor drag and snagging of trawler nets. These capabilities also assist with operation and maintenance activities, making floating wind more feasible.
Intelligent Moorings and University of Exeter
Intelligent Moorings is a new UK-based company launched around this design. The University of Exeter is a public research university in Exeter, England. They are developing a pressure-based dampener which sits between the platform and mooring line to reduce the load on mooring lines and floating platforms.During the course of the FLW TAC project, the design progressed from TRL 4 to 5 with successful testing of the Intelligent Mooring System (IMS) at 1:3 (Froude Scale) at the DMaC facilities at the University of Exeter. The project team have secured funding to test their mooring line dampener on the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE) test buoy in the Milford Haven Waterway. The mooring line dampener will be tested at an intermediate scale to assess its durability and performance in a real marine environment.
TfI Marine and CSignum
TfI Marine is an Irish company that works to commercialise technologies originating from academic research. CSignum is based in Scotland and specialises in subsea wireless communication and automation. They demonstrated a solution which integrates mooring load sensing, power generation and wireless subsea communications into an existing spring to enable autonomous full life fatigue monitoring. Incorporating monitoring equipment into the mooring line spring reduces the need for physical inspection of mooring lines and enables a risk-based approach to monitoring. The spring also acts as a dampener on mooring lines and the monitoring equipment is powered by movement of the spring, using a piezo-electric generator, which removes the need for an external power source. The FLW TAC project supported design development and prototype testing at the LiR National Ocean Test Facility (NOTF) in Cork, Ireland, and the University of Exeter’s DMaC facilities.
Vryhof has developed an adjustable lock (Stevadjuster) which sites on the seabed and is used to adjust the tension of the mooring lines. This is an alternative to a winch sitting on the turbine platform and enables vessels to adjust the tension of mooring lines at a safe distance from the platform. This project accelerated the design, certification and manufacture of a commercial-scale Stevadjuster. The acceleration of this process enabled Vryhof to launch the Stevadjuster as a commercial product.
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