Offshore wind technology to accelerate under new deal

A new partnership will focus on the development of new offshore wind technologies has been launched which have been described as “vital” to achieve net zero goals.

The National Decommissioning Centre (NDC) is to partner with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult in a research partnership aimed at developing new offshore wind technologies.

The partnership initially consists of three projects, each focusing on a different aspect of offshore wind development, including the simulation of floating offshore wind turbine (FOWT) systems, design optimisation of these systems, and environmental concerns.

Dr Marcin Kapitaniak and Professor Richard Neilson from the University of Aberdeen are coordinating the projects at the NDC in Newburgh.

Kapitaniak said: “We are delighted to be a part of this collaborative research project partnership between the NDC and ORE Catapult, which addresses a need for delivering innovation, impact and technical development in the field of floating wind, which is vital for achieving net zero and energy transition goals.

“Each project will run for a period of 3.5 years, and the results will inform approaches to offshore wind development and maintenance that have the potential to bring real improvements to current processes as well as cost savings to industry.”

Neilson, NDC director, added: “The collaboration between the partners was initiated when the NDC received support from EPSRC’s Supergen ORE Hub for a project aimed at the development of cost-effective methods of installation of floating wind farm anchors, which was co-funded by ORE Catapult and Aubin Group.

“This opened discussions about utilising the NDC’s unique and state-of-the-art simulation suite, which as well as being able to undertake detailed marine technology and operational simulations, can also conduct complex data modelling and visualisation.

“I am delighted that these discussions have come to fruition, and we look forward to working with colleagues in the ORE Catapult and our PhD students as part of this exciting initiative.”

Professor Ekaterina Pavlovskaia, head of the University of Aberdeen’s School of Engineering said: “I am pleased that the school is able to support this partnership which will help expand the number of our PhD students working on floating offshore wind projects, developing the skillsets required to make real and lasting contributions to the energy sector.”

Andrew Macdonald, Director of Offshore Wind Development and Operations at ORE Catapult, explained: “We welcome this innovative collaboration between ORE Catapult, the NDC and the School of Engineering that will support technology development of floating offshore wind.

“At ORE Catapult we have developed the National Floating Offshore Wind Innovation Centre in Aberdeen to accelerate the commercialisation of floating offshore wind technology. These PhD projects will look at the design, installation, and maintenance of floating offshore wind systems, and how they interact with the marine environment, and this will further drive economic growth and our net zero future.”

The NDC is a £38m partnership between the University of Aberdeen, Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) and industry. NZTC develops and deploys technology to accelerate an affordable net zero energy industry. Founded in 2017, the NZTC was created as part of the Aberdeen City Region Deal, with £180 million of UK and Scottish government funding.

Roger Esson, Head of Industry and Partner Network at Net Zero Technology Centre added: “Our strategic partnership with University of Aberdeen in delivering the NDC is enabling the delivery of crucial industry led, research partnerships.

“Through innovative collaboration these projects will help accelerate the development and deployment of offshore floating wind, increase efficiency and ensure floating offshore wind is a cost-effective solution in the energy transition.

“The marine simulation suite is a fundamental element providing an environment to virtually prototype new technology and de-risk the entire lifecycle of floating offshore wind and other energy infrastructure in the marine environment.”

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