University partners with world-leading simulator provider to revolutionise floating offshore wind installations

The University of Plymouth is joining forces with a globally-renowned provider of next-generation software and digital solutions, Kongsberg Digital, to create a new system that could revolutionise the UK’s floating offshore wind (FLOW) sector.

A state-of-the-art Kongsberg K-Sim Dynamic Positioning (DP) simulator will soon complement the Marine Navigation Centre on the University’s campus.

It will be used to simulate, test and optimise marine operations throughout the lifecycle of FLOW installations, which will provide offshore wind project teams and crew with facilities where they can verify, test and optimise installation and maintenance projects.

This will provide key insights into solutions that will increase efficiency, safety and cost effectiveness for the companies involved.

In addition to the research aspect, it will also be used to develop training for current and future industry professionals, helping to meet the national and international demand for such expertise in line with the global net-zero agenda.

Professor Deborah Greaves OBE FREng, Professor of Ocean Engineering at the University of Plymouth, said:
“This simulator could be a game-changer in the future deployment of floating offshore wind technology. As the sector expands, we need to develop innovative and effective ways of installing the technology in new and challenging environments.I believe our partnership with Kongsberg Digital, and the opportunity to learn from their experience and expertise, can make significant strides in helping us to achieve that.”
<p>Deborah Greaves, Plymouth Pioneer</p>

Professor Deborah Greaves OBE FREng

The K-Sim DP simulator is built on the market leading Kongsberg DP technology and has the necessary fidelity and realism required for thorough studies, mission planning, training and assessment of crew, where various challenging scenarios can be evaluated and optimised in a safe environment.

Andreas Jagtøyen, Executive Vice President Digital Ocean, Kongsberg Digital, added:

“Floating offshore wind turbines are seen as an increasingly important element of the renewable energy sector, which is a rapidly growing market. We look forward to cooperating with the University of Plymouth to support this industry with cutting-edge technology leading to improved safety and increased efficiency in offshore wind projects.”

The new simulator has been acquired through the University’s involvement in the Cornwall FLOW Accelerator project. Led by Celtic Sea Power, and supported by a grant of £4.8m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), through the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme, the project will support Cornwall’s ambitions to take a leading role in the global floating offshore wind sector.

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The Cornwall Floating Offshore Wind Accelerator is part-funded up to £4.837m by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme 2014-20. 

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), is the Managing Authority for ERDF.

<p>European Regional Development Fund</p>
<p>A state-of-the-art Kongsberg K-Sim Dynamic Positioning simulator will soon be installed on the University of Plymouth’s campus (Credit Kongsberg Digital)<br></p>
<p>A state-of-the-art Kongsberg K-Sim Dynamic Positioning simulator will soon be installed on the University of Plymouth’s campus (Credit Kongsberg Digital)<br></p>

The challenges of floating offshore wind

Floating offshore wind turbines are increasingly being seen as an integral element of the UK’s offshore renewable energy sector.
The UK presently has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind, and it contributed around 10% of the UK's power in the third quarter of 2019. However, the majority of existing turbines are fixed to the seafloor in water depths up to 60metres, and such sites are in limited supply.
The University is currently involved in a number of initiatives aimed at providing the infrastructure, innovation and operational knowledge needed to speed the rollout of floating offshore wind technology.
This includes leading the Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub, which brings together these different stakeholders to ensure that cutting edge research shared with the government to inform and influence policy, and practitioners to provide industry guidance.

Professor Greaves, Director of the Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Hub, said:
“There is growing recognition of the need for floating offshore wind technology and the need for government to support their advancement. Our UK first Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Test facility will enable physical modelling experiments with wind, wave and currents simultaneously. It will greatly improve understanding of how future technology advances could be impacted by atmospheric conditions, and provide a low-risk environment in which researchers can test new and novel concepts.”
<p>THE Impact Rankings SDG14 Life Below Water 2021 Top 10 large<br></p>

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Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021: life below water