Identifying the main limitations and shortcomings of current technologies associated with the management of mooring systems integrity and defining the project reference case that allows the evaluation of the planned developments comprehensively and realistically were the first two steps taken by the MooringSense consortium. MooringSense is a European project, led by the CTC Technology Centre, which aims to reduce the maintenance cost—by up to 15%—and the operating cost— by 10%— of floating wind turbines (FOW) used to generate offshore wind energy.
Six months after their launch meeting, the consortium’s nine members took stock of the progress made so far: development, translated into eight reports covering both the technical aspects and other issues related to the management processes, communication and management of the vast amount of data to be generated in MooringSense.
This first progress meeting was scheduled at Saitec’s premises. However, the health crisis caused by COVID-19 forced the consortium to hold meetings, segmented by work packages, via videoconference. Representatives from the consortium, including benchmark research centres such as the CTC Technology Centre, TNO, Ikerlan and Sintef Ocean, and leading companies such as Zunibal, Saitec, Bridon Bekaert Wire Rope Industry, Vicinay Marine Innovation and Intecsea, participated in these virtual meetings.
A comprehensive review of state-of-the-art technologies involved in mooring systems integrity management resulted in a report to be used by way of a consultation document for the Floating Wind Industry. In this aspect, the need to develop specific technologies and procedures for the anchoring systems used in floating wind turbines, which will reduce operating costs and failure risks, is highlighted.
In response to the need for more efficient management, MooringSense develops a new approach to integrity management for these systems. A development that, besides reducing operating costs, will also contribute to optimising the performance offered by floating wind energy and increase annual energy production by 2-3%.
This study identified the limitations and shortcomings of the solutions, all coming from the oil & gas industry, for their application in a sector in full expansion. Thus, the report mentioned above expresses “reasonable doubts” as to the robustness and reliability offered by current monitoring systems applied to anchoring systems. The difficulty of dealing with an aggressive and variable environment and the uncertainty inherent in immature technologies led the consortium to explore more disruptive methods based on the digitisation of assets and more robust and reliable monitoring solutions. This approach aims to provide reliable data and predictions throughout the operational life of floating wind farms.
Besides analysing the situation of the sector, the MooringSense consortium also defined the reference case used to evaluate the impact of the proposed developments. The SATH (the acronym for Swinging Around Twin Hull) floating platform concept, owned by the Saitec, a consortium member, will serve as a reference for these measurements. The size of the typical wind farm has been defined, target sites with different environmental conditions established, and several mooring configurations considered.
The work to be carried out in the coming months has been carefully coordinated and planned, after updating the progress achieved in the project. Special emphasis will be placed on the definition of the architecture and technical specifications to be implemented in the innovative solution offered by MooringSense. Likewise, the procedures and metrics indicated for the developments validation will be specified, and the numerical models of the Digital Twin will be further studied to obtain a digital floating wind turbine replica and tools that will allow predicting behaviours and the adequate maintenance tasks planning.
The next MooringSense follow-up meeting is scheduled for October. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 851703.