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Companies and research institutes from Belgium, France and Netherlands are in the process of finalising an innovative decision support system for the structural maintenance of offshore floating wind turbines. This new technology was developed within the framework of Eurogia+, the EUREKA cluster for low-carbon energies.
The initiative could result in significant cost and energy saving for all types of renewable marine energy farms. The partners in the project - Bureau Veritas, Materiaal Metingen Europe, the University of Liège, DN&T, and Ifremer - have recently completed the research phase and developed a first prototype of software for the structural maintenance of offshore floating wind turbines. The project will be finalised within the next few months, and will deliver an innovative decision support system for the structural maintenance of offshore floating wind farms. The resulting system integrates a simulation of inspection scenarios for marine energy structures, based on calculations of the wind turbines motions and stresses combined with a analysis of their structure’s fatigue, integrated in a geometrical 3D model.
'THE BENEFIT FOR ENGINEERS WORKING ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF FLOATING WIND TURBINES WILL BE TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT MAINTENANCE COSTS EARLY IN A WIND FARM'S DESIGN PROCESS.'
The benefit for engineers working on the development of floating wind turbines will be to take into account maintenance costs early in the wind farm design process. Maintenance is one of the main costs associated with the production of offshore renewable energy and the decrease of maintenance costs is considered by the industry as central in making the renewable energy sector price-competitive with fossil fuel power stations.
During the exploitation phase, the measured environmental conditions, inspection results and repairs will be used to update the software, allowing the actualisation of the maintenance process. All this ‘will reduce the KWh cost for this low-carbon technology’ explains Philippe Renard, manager at Bureau Veritas. ‘Although the project focuses on floating wind turbines, it can be applied directly to fixed offshore wind turbines and could be used extensively for any type of renewable marine energy source,’ he continues. More information on the project is available on the EUROGIA+ website.