Satellites Could Solve Some Key Offshore Technology Challenges

Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) and Satellite Applications (SatApps) Catapults have joined forces to explore ways in which satellites can be used to drive forward the development of the UK’s offshore renewable energy industry.

According to the Catapults, satellites present possible solutions to some of the sector’s key technology challenges.

The UK’s nine Catapult centres are actively looking to create cross-Catapult programmes, based on complementary competencies, which aim to create new opportunities for UK industry, increase the capability of the Catapults and leverage new public and private revenues.

Together, ORE Catapult and SatApps Catapult are involved in a number of collaborative and joint industry projects investigating the use of satellites in offshore renewable energy. Two examples are WindRes (SatApps Catapult and ORE Catapult) and HIGHROC (ORE Catapult).

WindRes, funded by the SatApps Catapult, with input from ORE Catapult, aims to translate research generated by the previous EU FP7 project NORSEWInD into a commercial operational tool for satellite enabled offshore wind resource optimization. This will be achieved by exploiting freely available satellite data, such as Sentinel-1, to construct a wind atlas for a given location.

ORE Catapult is collecting industry requirements for such a tool, and supporting its development.

The European-funded HIGHROC (HIGH spatial and temporal Resolution Ocean Colour) project will see ORE Catapult install an Aeronet ocean colour monitoring instrument on NOAH, their offshore metocean measurement platform, off the coast of Blyth, which will be used for validation of satellite based ocean colour algorithms and services.

HIGHROC will exploit new satellites such as Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 to access improved imagery at a spatial resolution of approximately 10-30m and will use data from the geostationary METEOSAT/SEVIRI, which provides images at a temporal resolution of approximately every 15 minutes during daylight.

Remote sensing is one area that has a direct application in offshore renewable energy.

In offshore renewable energy, remote sensing could be used, for example, in environmental monitoring, to understand and track the movement of marine life at potential sites for offshore wind farms (mammals, birdlife etc) or to improve localised weather monitoring and forecasting. Both of these have been highlighted as innovation challenges by ORE Catapult.

Movement and displacement measurements from satellites using radar could be employed to monitor the structural health of offshore wind turbines and other offshore assets.

Other satellite applications, such as navigation and positioning and communications are already used throughout the lifecycle of an offshore wind farm e.g. to track offshore vessels, or providing communications when working offshore.

Image: SatApps Catapult

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