New research topics for Offshore Wind identified – interested?

TRAF organised the 3rd Research Forum on Offshore Wind on December 17th. The hybrid event gathered over 30 business, academia and public sector actors to both learn from ongoing research and plan new cooperation efforts. Further research and dialogue are needed to increase public acceptance and gain support for Offshore Wind.

The event started with presentations from Finnish academia. Assistant Professor Arttu Polojärvi from Aalto University opened the event with his presentation on “Laboratory-scale experiments and numerical modelling of ice loads on wind turbine foundations”.

Head of Oceanographic Services Antti Kangas from the Finnish Meteorological Institute gave a presentation on extreme marine events such as storm surges, extreme waves, sea ice compression and marine heat waves.

Research Scientist Timo Karlsson from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland took us toward a more technological topic: the erosion of wind farm blades due to precipitation, fog and aerosols. Corrosion causes significant costs due to the need of blade repairs. The corrosion can be reduced by smart control of wind turbine and for example protective coatings. This, however, requires further research.

A more societal perspective was offered by Doctoral Student Jamie Jenkins from University of Helsinki who presented Scenario models on offshore wind development in Finland. We learned that public acceptance for offshore infrastructure is a significant driver for offshore wind and social media influence can even change the direction of the offshore wind development.

Tom Warras from Business Finland filled us in regarding potentially interesting funding opportunities for topics related to offshore wind value chain.

New topics were discussed
Putting our wise heads together we came up with a variety of topics of interest to business and academia. Four of them were further developed with a focus on what questions exactly should be answered, who should be involved and how to fund the research.

  1. Sufficient wind modelling and measurements for offshore wind farm planning
    The investors require exact data from project site under development. Getting bankable information for investors would require year-round and longer-term full-scale wind measurements also during icy conditions.
  1. Business case for offshore hydrogen production
    Business case analysis is needed under this topic to find economically viable solutions for hydrogen production in offshore wind context – e.g. transportation of produced hydrogen, role of the electric grid and using hydrogen as energy storage.
  1. Increasing public acceptance for offshore wind and combining it with other uses of marine space
    Transparency and good dialogue are needed to increase acceptance for OW infrastructure for wind farms. Stakeholder work and sharing of information are crucial for increasing the acceptance and gaining public support.
  1. Wind turbine sensors & systems and wind farm control
    Operating costs for OW can be lowered and longevity of the infrastructure increased by utilizing new sensors and developing operating and controlling systems that use AI, machine learning and sensor data.

In addition to these, a few other ideas were collected during the forum.

Two vessel concepts were discussed for offshore wind: a service vessel concept for 15 MW turbine and a blade maintenance vessel concept. More information is also needed on the effect of local soil conditions to offshore wind farm foundations in the Baltic Sea. Northern locations set certain demands on solutions and electrical sub-station in icy conditions was seen as something to look deeper into.

The smartness of offshore wind operations and maintenance were also discussed: topics ideated were smart repair operations (by predicting icy conditions, corrosion and even electricity spot-prices) to lower repair costs and digital twin of a wind farm to enable predictive maintenance.

Join us in further research!
TRAF ecosystem members are looking forward to take these topics further together with researchers and our other partners. Please let us know if you are interested in taking part!