Blue Abyss 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 wind farm development.
Blue Abyss’ 50m deep pool – the world’s biggest – with its capability to simulate tidal and current conditions, will provide a safe and controlled environment for innovation development, research, testing and training.
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, pool-side workshops and davit cranes, and a 30-tonne poolside crane capable of lifting and submerging equipment. The size and capacity of the facility is ideally designed for partnerships, where for instance the growing offshore industry, as it creates some of the world’s biggest wind farms off the SW coast, can collaborate with maritime defence and oil and gas sector organisations for mutual benefit.
As the offshore industry moves to use fewer divers – eventually taking divers out of the process altogether – and with wind farms 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 wind farms.
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 wind farms will have to be reduced.
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
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 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.”
Companies will also be able to use the subsea centre of excellence for operational training, simulations and demonstrations. Blue Abyss will also offer a conference amphitheatre and training rooms, a 120-bed hotel with large central community area and on-site parking.
Image Credit: Øyvind Gravås, Woldcam Statoil
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