Winners of floating wind competition announced
16 Mar 2020by David Foxwell
A 3D-printed anchor and a self-charging mooring line monitoring device are two of eight innovative technologies announced 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 £1M 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 demonstrations.
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 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, 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 12 GW of capacity globally by 2030, becoming a market estimated to be worth £32Bn (US$39Bn).
In Scotland, the draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy, outlines the Scottish Government’s plans to deliver up to 10 GW 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.