The National Decommissioning Centre (NDC) – a partnership between the University of Aberdeen and Net Zero Technology Centre – and Aubin Group have won a share of funding from a GBP 800,000 pot to support the development of a novel lifting solution for offshore wind.
The project builds on Aubin’s patented pumpable variable buoyancy technology called Deepbuoy.
The project partners state that the Deepbuoy solution offers a more efficient way of installing offshore wind farms with a more precise and controlled lifting solution to commonly used air bags, making lifting operations easier and safer for cranes, divers and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
According to Dr Marcin Kapitaniak, an Independent Research Fellow at the NDC, the project will allow the technology to progress, potentially leading to the reduction in costs of installation of floating wind farms.
With the now awarded support from the Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub through its Flexible Funding Scheme, detailed modelling simulations will be performed by the NDC, utilising its Marine Simulator, to build models of Aubin’s Deepbuoy technology. This way, the project partners will assess the technology’s applicability, benefits in terms of costs and reduced carbon footprint for installation of wind farms infrastructure.
Along with the financial backing from the Supergen ORE Hub, the Aberdeen project will also benefit from additional funding from the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence (FoW CoE).
“Through real-time simulation studies we will be able to identify challenges relating to the installation of floating wind farm anchors and mooring systems”, Kapitaniak said. “The findings from our studies should lead to the development of novel techniques for deployment of wind farm anchors and mooring systems”.
The research team will also compare the methods developed through the project with conventional installation methods and emerging competitive new lifting methods, with the aim of demonstrating a significant reduction in costs and reliance on heavy lift vessels for the installation of wind farms.