A 3D-printed anchor and self-charging mooring line monitoring device are among eight floating wind farm innovations unveiled as winners of a technology acceleration competition.
The hunt for new ideas was funded by the Scottish Government and run by the Carbon Trust’s floating wind joint industry project (Jip), a collaborative research and development initiative between the trust and 14 leading international offshore wind developers.
It was designed to pose technical challenges for the commercialisation of floating wind energy in four key areas: monitoring and inspection; mooring systems; heavy lift maintenance; and tow-to-port maintenance.
The eight winning technologies will receive a share of £1 million from the government, in addition to support from the Jip offshore wind developers.
The Carbon Trust said the successes represented a variety of sectors, including oil and gas, IT and telecommunications, and engineering.
Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “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.
“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.”
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.