The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), NDT Consultants, Brunel University London, Reece Innovation, InnoTecUK, 3-Sci, and E.ON have joined forces to launch the CleanWinTur project to combat biofouling on offshore wind turbines.
The project, which has been funded by Innovate UK, aims to research practical solutions to minimise the impacts of biofouling on offshore turbines.
According to EMEC, the increasing depth and distance of offshore wind farms from the shore continue to drive maintenance costs up, especially those associated to the substructure, limiting the sector’s growth potential.
The biggest challenge is dealing with biofouling (settlement and growth of organisms) on transition pieces and monopiles, EMEC said. The consequence of which is an acceleration in corrosion of components affecting the functionality and survivability of the offshore assets, which in turn can make the turbines increasingly costly, challenging, dangerous, and ineffective.
CleanWinTur is expected to address both issues by developing an ultrasonic system that performs continuous condition monitoring and effective anti-fouling, thereby enabling the implementation of predictive and or condition-based maintenance and reduce OPEX.
Myles Heward, Performance Test Engineer at EMEC, who is leading the real-sea testing, said: “EMEC are delighted to be working on this project and to test the protype system in the controlled environment here in Orkney. This will allow for lessons to be learnt from testing in real sea conditions, which will ensure the system is fully optimised before it is installed on E.ON’s infrastructure.”