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21/7/2017

Supporting solutions to challenging offshore wind issues

Supporting solutions to challenging offshore wind issues

The subsea centre of excellence at Blue Abyss, the world’s first commercial aquatic and space research, development and training centre, will offer the perfect arena to research and test solutions to issues challenging offshore windfarm development.

Blue Abyss’ 50m deep pool – the world’s biggest – with its capability to simulate offshore tidal and current conditions, will provide a safe and controlled environment for innovation development, research, testing and training.

Offshore windfarm challenges

Issues currently vexing the fast-developing offshore wind industry, include scour prevention, cable laying and protection and substructures.

Alongside the pool, will be hyperbaric and hypobaric chambers, an opening roof and a 30-tonne poolside crane capable of lifting and submerging equipment, is designed for partnership with the growing offshore industry assisting in creating some of the world’s biggest windfarms off its coast.

Remote submersibles

As the offshore industry moves to use fewer divers – eventually taking divers out of the process altogether – and with windfarms being built further out to sea in deeper water with bigger turbines, a key focus for pool activity falls on ROVs, AUV, and other submersibles. Developing the latest submersible technology is key to maximising the potential of offshore windfarms.

Research & Development facility

The pool also offers potential for research into reducing noise propagation from piling – including through the development of improved acoustic baffles – to answer industry predictions that permitted noise levels for offshore windfarms will have to be reduced.

Celia Anderson, of Blue Abyss, is talking to the industry about how the centre of excellence can support and develop its key areas including:

  • Improved cable installation monitoring, inspection and repair
  • Cost-effective subsea surveys of offshore wind foundations by remote inspection using ROVs, AUVs, UAVs and ASVs e.g. for scour prevention or corrosion of foundations
  • Better cleaning technologies for subsea structures

Celia explained: “80% of insurance claims related to offshore windfarms are about cable failure (GCube).

Operators are looking for new ways to improve the reliability of these assets through improved protection and monitoring”.

The facilities are designed to encourage engineering innovation along with safe controlled facilities to work on mitigating risk in subsea environments.”

Blue Abyss will be ideally placed to work with universities in the East of England – the University of Cambridge, University of East Anglia and Cranfield University – on subsea projects.

Blue Abyss has a significant role in bringing people together to benefit the industry, whether it is research or local universities, or the companies themselves.”

We can learn from other sectors as well as sharing our experiences into developing areas such as the space industry,” Celia added.

Additional uses

Companies will also be able to use the subsea centre of excellence for operational training, simulations and demonstrations.

The facility will also offer a conference amphitheatre and training rooms, a 120-bed hotel with large central community area and on-site parking.

To discuss how Blue Abyss can support subsea work, contact Celia Anderson, celia.anderson@blueabyss.uk.

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Posted in Diving & ROV | News | R&D

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