£400,000 to boost offshore wind farm performance

The UK’s national Operations & Maintenance Centre of Excellence (OMCE) has partnered with offshore wind specialist Ørsted in a £400,000 project to develop an innovative approach to sea state forecasting.

It aims to deliver a significant reduction in missed working days.

Humber-based OMCE is a £2m collaboration between the University of Hull and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult to drive innovation and improvements in operations and maintenance.

The project team, led by academics from the University of Hull, is working with Ørsted to help improve wave forecast modelling with direct industrial impact.

The model will contribute to improving the accuracy of sea state forecasting at an individual offshore wind turbine level.

A spokesman for the scheme explained: “Turbine accessibility is a key factor in a wind farm’s profitability.

“Technicians attempting to undertake maintenance can face a number of barriers to safe access, which in turn can be a factor in limiting turbine performance and ultimately overall energy output of a wind farm.

“This new project will result in a wave forecasting model that will give greater accuracy and offer a more granular insight into the sea state within an offshore wind farm than current state-of-the-art methods can.

Dr Robert Dorrell

“With total O&M costs contributing around 25% to the lifetime costs of a typical offshore wind farm, the positive impact on planning by owners/operators is clear, with ORE Catapult analysis suggesting innovations in forecasting techniques could help to reduce missed working days by a quarter.”

Multiple downward-facing radar have been installed at turbines at Ørsted’s Burbo Bank Extension wind farm to record wave height, direction and period together with combined met-ocean data and existing forecasts.

Lucas Marion, R&D roadmap manager Wind & Wave, said: “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.

“The UK is the world leader in offshore wind and if we are to maintain this position while continuing to bring down costs, collaboration between industry and academia is an important factor.”

Project lead Dr Rob Dorrell, from the Energy & Environment Institute at the University of Hull, said: “This project is tackling critical challenges in operations and maintenance at the interface of offshore wind and the hostile marine environment.

“We are delighted to translate state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and remote monitoring systems to provide new solutions and methods to meet industrial challenges, enabling the drive towards enhanced cost-efficiency in offshore wind, thus furthering its viability as a clean energy solution.”

Johnathan Love, ORE Catapult’s project manager, added: “With Ørsted, the University of Hull and the Catapult coming together on this project, we are combining insight into real industry challenges with cutting-edge academic research to develop new products to improve offshore wind operations and maintenance and wind farm efficiency and performance.”