- The Basque organisation will lead on the development of the Structural Health Monitoring system, to create more efficient operational and maintenance strategies
Offshore wind energy has become increasingly important as a source for generating renewable electricity due to factors such as the better wind conditions at sea compared to on land and the greater opportunities for finding suitable locations for wind farms. On the other hand, there are also disadvantages such as the increased difficulties in its operation and maintenance (around 30% of the cost of the energy produced) and the fact that it is limited to waters with depths of less than 50 metres. Various solutions are currently being tested where the wind turbine is installed on top of a floating platform fixed to the seabed by means of a number of anchor lines. This solution has several advantages, offering more possibilities for location in deeper marine areas. The competitiveness of this floating solution depends, among other factors, on reducing the cost of maintaining the anchors.
With the aim of optimising the maintenance of the mooring systems of offshore floating platforms, the Basque Technology Centre, IKERLAN, is participating in the MooringSense European project, an initiative in which the organisation will create a technologically advanced system to monitor its condition (structural health) and allow the early detection of damage.
“It is essential to be aware of the condition of the moorings in order to anticipate possible incidents and plan maintenance operations covering the whole farm, thus reducing the cost of the energy produced. The system for managing the condition of the moorings being developed as part of the project will be based on different technologies such as a precise positioning sensor based on GNSS technology, advanced simulation and digital twins, control strategies and the system for monitoring structural health, which will allow us to determine the condition of the moorings. Thanks to this new technology, significant savings will be made in the maintenance of floating wind turbines," explains Jon Basurko, project manager at IKERLAN.
In the initiative, which began in 2019 and which will last for three years, IKERLAN will be working in a number of areas.
Firstly, the Basque research centre will lead on the development of the Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) system, which will enable more efficient damage detection strategies to be implemented. Secondly, the organisation will play a part in the control system for the wind turbine in order that it can adapt to the condition of the mooring lines. Lastly, IKERLAN will be involved in the design and manufacture of the Smart Sensors, contributing their knowledge in communications, reliability, safety and energy saving.
In addition to IKERLAN, the project, which is led by the Cantabrian Technology Centre Foundation, will involve several Basque companies such as Saitec, Vicinay and Zunibal.
The consortium will also be supported by Nederlandse Organisatie Voor Toegepast Atuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek – TNO, Sintef Ocean AS, Bridon Bekaert Ropes Group and Intecsea Group B.V.
IKERLAN is a leading centre in technology transfer and in the contribution of competitive value to the company due, among other things, to the specialisation of its researchers. It offers comprehensive solutions that combine different technological fields into three large areas: Electronics, Information and Communication Technologies (EICT), Energy and Power Electronics and Advanced Manufacturing. IKERLAN has been certified via AENOR for its integrated management system (UNE-EN ISO 9001:2015 y UNE 166002:2014), which recognises the excellence of the centre in the field of R&D&I. It currently has a workforce of around 350 people.