To achieve the goal of generating sustainable energy there is global investment into wind energy. Besides land-based wind farms, farms are also created at sea, in order to install sufficient capacity and comply with environmental requirements such as noise standards and visual standards. The North Sea area already has active farms and a multitude of megawatt capacity is planned for the years ahead.
The price of energy generated at sea is higher than the price of land-generated energy and many times higher than the price of energy generated using fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Government subsidies are an important incentive for creating windfarms, but this financial support is finite. The price is largely determined by the cost of maintenance. So it is necessary to reduce these costs. This is a challenge for small and medium-sized businesses that can develop and implement smart solutions. The initiators are convinced that small and medium-sized businesses can face this challenge together with research institutions and educational organisations. This project provides the link between businesses and the knowledge available in the regions, it will lead to innovative employment opportunities for the creation of a sustainable source of energy.The aim of the Innovative Solutions for Offshore Wind project is to make wind energy competitive with existing, less sustainable sources of energy by contributing to the reduction of the maintenance costs. New technology is being developed and applied and there is innovative collaborative organisation in the offshore wind sector.
An important element of the project is the exchange of knowledge and experience between the partners from the North Sea area. This open innovation means that solutions can be implemented sooner.
The project consists of 3 work packages, which are described in this chapter. The common aim is to reduce the costs through innovative solutions.
The task packages are:
* Monitoring and adaptive control (prevention)
* Innovative maintenance concepts
* Smart and safe organisation of maintenance (logistics and safety)
Monitoring and adaptive control (preventionThe largest saving on maintenance is preventing maintenance having to take place. By continuously measuring essential parameters, data are obtained about the condition of a windmill (or farm). Analysis of these data can provide insight into wear and tear patterns for instance, so that maintenance can be planned accordingly and replacement parts and parts for new mills can be redesigned. The analysis will also provide a continuous picture of how each mill performs in comparison with the others, which can be used for optimisation of mills.
The aim of this task package is cost-savings through prevention and planned maintenance by using sensors and analysis of data from active windmills and their environment. The data are used to increase the lifespan and reliability of (parts of) windmills.
Innovative maintenance concepts
Humans are often the limiting factor when it comes to maintenance in extreme conditions. The window of time in which work can be carried out at sea is limited due to factors such as weather conditions, currents and the height and depth at which the work must be carried out.
The aim of this task package is to develop and implement solutions that enable longer working times at sea, either by adapting the conditions for humans so that they can work safely, or by allowing humans to operate machines remotely.
The idea is to develop three concepts in this task package:
* Remote inspection using (for instance) UAV
* Maintenance using robots
Smart and safe organisation of maintenance (logistics and safety)
As maintenance at sea is determined by the conditions, it is expensive. When maintenance has to be carried out, good organisation can enable considerable costs savings. This organising should start well before the maintenance has to take place. By keeping materials and parts to hand and having service providers at the ready, maintenance at sea can be carried out at short notice, where the reliability of materials and the safety of people in all conditions are the main priorities.
The task package is focused on organising the maintenance chain so that trained people are able to deploy materials and resources at very short notice. The aim of this task package is to develop a reliable and safe process and installing this process in a (partly) virtual organisation, as well as certified training for service personnel.
Partners Found Already
Universities and SME in the North Netherlands and Northwest Germany will collaborate closely in the project.
(Applied-) Research institutes and SME's interested in IT and sensor technology (data acquisition and -analysis), robotics.
Partners who see points of common interest are sought in the InterReg Vb North Sea Region, so that a common project may be designed. The three work packages discussed above may serve as possible directives for this purpose.
SME, Innovation, Technology, Clean Energy, Maintenance, Wind Energy
18 February 2015