Digital Twins Make Jacket Foundations 30 Per Cent Lighter and Cheaper – Research

Predictive digital twin technology can reduce the steel weight and associated costs of offshore wind jacket foundations by up to 30 per cent, according to the results of an EU-backed wind foundation design project carried out by Akselos and Lamprell.

The European Union awarded Akselos EUR 1.4 million in 2018 to conduct the research and pilot project GODESS – Global Optimal Design of Support Structures.

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The GODESS philosophy has been used as the basis for proof of concept on one of Lamprell’s UK offshore wind projects.

Lamprell will now apply the findings to reduce the amount of steel it uses to construct its offshore foundations.

The results were achieved thanks to Akselos’ MIT-licenced simulation technology Reduced Basis Finite Element Analysis (RB-FEA), which is said to allow for unprecedented speed and accuracy through real-time data feeds.

For Lamprell, that enables highly accelerated design workflows where multiple design alternatives can be tested against thousands of scenarios in minutes, and in high fidelity, the companies said.

”We are delighted at the results we’ve seen with Akselos’ digital twins which provide a true step-change in our design process. With their state-of-the-art high-fidelity models, we’ve been able to reduce the steel weight in jacket foundation design and construction by up to 30%,” Lamprell’s Chief Executive Officer, Christopher McDonald, said.

”This represents a significant reduction and saving; providing substantial value for our customers and wider stakeholders. Through our Digital business unit we are focused on harnessing digital technologies to optimise multiple aspects of our operations. This is a great example of that strategy delivering results. The innovative ways in which we are able to offer such efficiencies for our customers is what will continue to give us a competitive edge.”

The research will continue by creating a full digital loop, from design to operations, bringing together parametric simulations, machine learning, and optimization routines to enable engineers to use relevant operational data to understand how designs behave under operating conditions, allowing for resilient, optimal designs based on real-world data.

Thomas Leurent, Akselos’ Chief Executive Officer said: ”Our mission is to speed up the deployment of mass-scale offshore wind by ensuring that the design process is as optimised as possible. The pilot project has shown just how much over-conservatism exists in the current design process, and the astonishing amount of value that can be realised by adopting emerging technologies like our digital twins. We look forward to working with Lamprell to help their customers achieve the same success as we’ve seen in this project.”

Lamprell is also applying the technology to the design of oil and gas installation foundations, and has seen a ten per cent reduction in weight so far.

The research was conducted with EUROSTARS which is co-funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation and the European Union. The funding is designed to support emerging enterprises that have shown excellence in R&D.

Photo: Akselos