ORE Catapult Picks Powertrain Research Hub Academic Partner

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has named the University of Sheffield as the academic partner for its new research hub dedicated to offshore wind turbine powertrains.

The GBP 2.5 million Powertrain Research Hub (PTRH) will focus on the development of next-generation turbines and future technologies and research solutions for improving turbine reliability and availability, ORE Catapult said.

The university will contribute a minimum of GBP 1.7 million over five years, which is said to complement the GBP 700,000 funding from ORE Catapult.

GE Renewable Energy will also contribute GBP 500,000 over a four-year program supporting a number of research projects.

The collective contributions will support PhDs, Postdoctoral Research Associates and access to the university’s testing facilities in addition to ORE Catapult’s 1, 3 and 15MW test assets at its National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth.

According to the company, research will focus on minimizing human interventions throughout the turbine lifetime, an area that has attracted the support of GE due to its “Stay Ashore!” research collaboration with ORE Catapult, aimed at minimizing the time people have to spend offshore.

In April last year, ORE Catapult and GE Renewable Energy signed a five-year collaboration agreement to advance next-generation turbine technologies, including Haliade-X 12 MW, the world’s most powerful wind turbine.

“With industry moving towards larger wind turbines, we have an opportunity to significantly contribute to reducing the cost of turbine technology. It is essential to maximise this opportunity in a number of key areas including the challenge of improving powertrain component reliability and availability,” said Paul McKeever, ORE Catapult’s Head of Strategic Research.

“By developing the next generation of powertrain components, and improving their lifespan, we can significantly reduce the related operations and maintenance costs and subsequently minimise the number of human interventions for potentially dangerous turbine repair work at sea.”

PTRH will be the third strategic research hub established by ORE Catapult following collaboration with the University of Bristol in blades and the Universities of Strathclyde and Manchester in electrical infrastructure.

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