A 3D printed anchor and a self-charging mooring line monitoring device are two of eight innovative technologies announced today as winners of a technology acceleration competition, funded by the Scottish Government and run by the Carbon Trust’s Floating Wind Joint Industry Project (Floating Wind JIP).
The competition was designed to address four key industry challenge areas, that need to be overcome to commercialise floating wind. The four areas were identified in Phase 1 of the Floating Wind JIP: monitoring and inspection, mooring systems, heavy lift maintenance and tow to port maintenance. The eight technologies will receive a share of £1 million from the Scottish Government, in addition to support from the 14 leading offshore wind developers represented in the Floating Wind JIP.
The successful applicants are from a variety of sectors including oil and gas, IT and telecommunications, and engineering. The innovations range in maturity, therefore the funding will be used to support different activities from desktop studies to offshore demonstration.
The companies and their winning technologies are:
- Fugro, AS Mosley, and University of Strathclyde (monitoring and inspection)
Condition monitoring software which uses readily available acceleration and motion data points from floating offshore wind structures to extrapolate how the wider structure responds to stress.
- Technology from Ideas and WFS Technologies (monitoring and inspection)
A load monitoring system to identify stresses on mooring lines and times when maintenance is needed. The monitoring system will be integrated into an existing spring, which also acts as a dampener on mooring lines, and is powered by movement of the lines.
- Dublin Offshore (mooring systems)
A load reduction device that sits partway up the mooring line and pivots in the water to minimise movement of the floating platform during wave events.
- Intelligent Mooring Systems and University of Exeter (mooring systems)
A new pressure-based dampener which sits between the platform and mooring line to reduce the load on floating platforms.
- RCAM Technologies and the Floating Wind Technology Company (mooring systems)
A concrete anchor, produced using 3D printing technology, which is sunk and then embedded in the seabed through suction.
- Vryhof (mooring systems)
An adjustable lock on the seabed used to manipulate 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.
- Conbit (heavy lift maintenance)
A temporary crane which sits on top of the turbine (the nacelle) to winch parts up and down for maintenance. This could enable larger turbines to be serviced offshore than is currently feasible.
- Aker Solutions (tow to port maintenance)
A splice box connecting two dynamic array cables, and allowing them to be wet-stored on the seabed when a turbine is towed to port. This will also enable an array of floating wind turbines to remain operational when one floating platform is removed for maintenance.
Floating offshore wind is an emerging renewables sector, with significance for places like Scotland where water depths often do not allow for the use of fixed bottom turbines. Floating wind is forecast to scale up to 12GW of capacity globally by 2030, becoming a market estimated to be worth £32 billion.
In Scotland, the draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy, outlines the Scottish Government’s plans to deliver up to 10GW of offshore wind, the majority of which will be in deeper waters suitable for floating wind. To achieve this scale, accelerating technology innovation to lower the levelised cost of energy from floating wind will be critical.
Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Scotland commented:
We are funding the Carbon Trust’s Floating Wind Technology Acceleration Competition in order to address key technical challenges in the sector. Given Scotland’s unique deep water profile, floating offshore wind will undoubtedly play a huge role in our future energy system, as we transition to a net zero economy and we know that key overseas markets are also looking to exploit floating wind technology to meet their own energy needs. The innovative solutions developed by the competition winners will help reduce costs in the sector and could allow floating wind technology to reach commercial scale deployment earlier than previously anticipated and that could prove vital as Scotland and other coastal nations seek to head off the climate emergency.
Jan Matthiesen, Director, Offshore Wind, the Carbon Trust said:
Floating wind is on the precipice of scaling to deliver significant capacity in the energy system. The competition is supporting a number of exciting technology innovations in critical challenge areas identified by industry. We are excited and optimistic for both the potential of these innovations to reach commercialisation and their ability to positively impact the sector.
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About the Floating Wind JIP:
The Floating Wind JIP, formed in 2016, is a collaborative research and development initiative between the Carbon Trust, Scottish Government, and fourteen leading international offshore wind developers: EnBW, ENGIE, Eolfi, Equinor, innogy, Kyuden Mirai Energy, Ørsted, RWE, ScottishPower Renewables, Shell, SSE, TEPCO, Vattenfall, and Wpd. It has been established to accelerate the development of floating wind technology through cost reduction and de-risking of technology components and their manufacture, operation and maintenance.
Further details of competition winners and funded activities:
- Fugro, AS Mosley, and University of Strathclyde
Fugro is a Dutch company, with offices in Scotland, that provides geo-data for many applications, including asset integrity solutions. AS Mosley is a Scottish engineering design consultancy. The University of Strathclyde is a public research university in Glasgow, Scotland. Funding and advice will support a desktop study to validate the peridynamic modelling approach of their software, with a particular focus on characterising the condition of mooring lines. All work will be carried out in Scotland.
- Technology from Ideas and WFS Technologies
Technology from Ideas (TfI) is an Irish company that works to commercialise technologies originating from academic research. WFS Technologies is a Scottish company that specialises in subsea wireless automation. Funding and advice will support design completion and testing of their load monitoring system. The monitoring system will be integrated into a polymer spring, developed by TfI, which also acts as a dampener on mooring lines. The monitoring device will be powered by a piezo-electric generator, which uses the motion of the spring to generate electricity.
- Dublin Offshore
Dublin Offshore is an Irish engineering company that supplies marine energy solutions. Its passive load reduction device is installed part way along the mooring line and rotates in response to the movement of the floating platform to reduce the tension in mooring lines during wave conditions. Funding and advice will build and demonstrate a scale version of the device and test it in a marine environment.
- Intelligent Mooring Systems and University of Exeter
Intelligent Mooring Systems is a new UK based company launched around this design. The University of Exeter is a public research university in Exeter, England. Funding and advice will support the building and testing of a scale prototype version of the dampener.
- RCAM Technologies and Floating Wind Technology Company
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 Floating Wind Technology Company is a new start-up company created to commercialise innovations in offshore wind. Funding and advice will support this US based consortium in the design, prototyping and testing of the 3D suction anchor, including identification of transport and installation options. While both lead companies are based in the USA, 3D printing will take place in the Netherlands.
Vryhof is a Dutch company that specialises in mooring and anchoring solutions. Funding and advice will support design certification, large scale manufacturing and development of installation procedures for the subsea chain adjuster (known as the Stevadjuster).
Conbit is a Dutch engineering company. Funding and advice will support the design development of its temporary, modular nacelle-based crane for heavy lift component exchange offshore. The project will also test the commercial feasibility of the design through market consultation.
- Aker Solutions
Aker Solutions is a global offshore energy engineering company with headquarters in Norway. Funding and advice will support development of the design and installation method for the containment unit (splice box), as well as equipment testing. This will address the challenge of disconnecting a Floating Wind Turbine from its array while keeping the rest of the array operational and producing power during heavy maintenance periods.
About the Carbon Trust
Established in 2001, the Carbon Trust works with businesses, governments and institutions around the world, helping them contribute to, and benefit from, a more sustainable future through carbon reduction, resource efficiency strategies, and commercialising low carbo businesses, systems and technologies.
The Carbon Trust:
works with corporates and governments, helping them to align their strategies with climate science and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement;
- provides expert advice and assurance, giving investors and financial institutions the confidence that green finance will have genuinely green outcomes; and
- supports the development of low carbon technologies and solutions, building the foundations for the energy system of the future.
Headquartered in London, the Carbon Trust has a global team of 200 staff, representing over 30 nationalities based across five continents.