HOME-Offshore: Holistic Operation and Maintenance for Energy from Offshore Wind Farms

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Abstract

This project will undertake the research necessary for the remote inspection and asset management of offshore wind farms and their connection to shore. This industry has the potential to be worth £2billion annually by 2025 in the UK alone according to studies for the Crown Estate. At present most Operation and Maintenance (O&M) is still undertaken manually onsite. Remote monitoring through advanced sensing, robotics, data-mining and physics-of-failure models therefore has significant potential to improve safety and reduce costs.

Typically 80-90% of the cost of offshore O&M according to the Crown Estate is a function of accessibility during inspection - the need to get engineers and technicians to remote sites to evaluate a problem and decide what remedial action to undertake. Minimising the need for human intervention offshore is a key route to maximising the potential, and minimising the cost, for offshore low-carbon generation. This will also ensure potential problems are picked up early, when the intervention required is minimal, before major damage has occurred and when maintenance can be scheduled during a good weather window. As the Crown Estate has identified: "There is an increased focus on design for reliability and maintenance in the industry in general, but the reality is that there is a still a long way to go. Wind turbine, foundation and electrical elements of the project infrastructure would all benefit from innovative solutions which can demonstrably reduce O&M spending and downtime". Recent, more detailed, academic studies support this position.

The wind farm is however an extremely complicated system-of-systems consisting of the wind turbines, the collection array and the connection to shore. This consists of electrical, mechanical, thermal and materials engineering systems and their complex interactions. Data needs to be extracted from each of these, assessed as to its significance and combined in models that give meaningful diagnostic and prognostic information. This needs to be achieved without overwhelming the user. Unfortunately, appropriate multi-physics sensing schemes and reliability models are a complex and developing field, and the required knowledge base is presently scattered across a variety of different UK universities and subject specialisms.

This project will bring together and consolidate theoretical underpinning research from a variety of disparate prior research work, in different subject areas and at different universities. Advanced robotic monitoring and advanced sensing techniques will be integrated into diagnostic and prognostic schemes which will allow improved information to be streamed into multi-physics operational models for offshore windfarms. Life-time, reliability and physics of failure models will be adapted to provide a holistic view of wind-farms system health and include these new automated information flows. While aspects of the techniques required in this offshore application have been previously used in other fields, they are innovative for the complex problems and harsh environment in this offshore system-of-systems. 'Marinising' these methods is a substantial challenge in itself. The investigation of an integrated monitoring platform and the reformulation of models and techniques to allow synergistic use of data flow in an effective and efficient diagnostic and prognostic model is ambitious and would allow a major step change over present practice.

Planned Impact

The project aims to create the underlying technology and methodologies to make a step-change in offshore wind farm Operation and Maintenance (O&M) over its present state which is overly based on costly and hazardous human inspection and intervention. The goal is a more time-efficient and cost-effective approach based on robotic automation, advanced sensing and condition monitoring, and innovative, multi-physics domain models for performance, aging diagnostics and prognostics.

This will enable the UK to lead in an offshore O&M market worth up to £2 billion by 2025 domestically, with the opportunity for a large share of a substantially greater market worldwide. The research will also address the skills gap in offshore O&M, both by replacing activities that require technical skills in short supply (e.g. offshore divers) and training PhDs and postdoctoral engineers to fill the shortage of future industrial and technical leaders in this field. The technologies and skills developed are however wider in scope than just offshore wind: any activity will benefit that requires O&M in hard-to-access areas, which includes most marine applications, most remote renewable generation, and even nuclear decontamination and disposal. The project thus addresses a key societal challenge of enabling lower-cost low-carbon energy, while maintaining the health in the UK of a wide range of underpinning science and engineering disciplines and promoting inter-disciplinarity: all parts of the EPSRC Strategic Plan and Energy Theme.

The project has engaged and will work with key stakeholders such as manufacturers (e.g. Siemens Wind and GE), system providers (e.g. Siemens Power), consultants (e.g. DNV GL), service providers (e.g. Fugro), NGOs (e.g. the ORE Catapult) and the wider international research community (e.g. the EU MIGRATE project). It has identified Cigré and the European Wind Energy Association as key dissemination routes and has set aside funds to engage with these, both in terms of travel to Europe and Conference attendance as part of a central strategic travel / dissemination fund, as well as funds for each partner individually.

The project will include usual best practice: it will maintain a regular coordinated presence at leading international IEEE and IET conferences, publish in leading academic journals and a maintain a project website. In addition the project will organise regular six-monthly themed symposia involving all academic and industrial partners as well as key national stakeholders and representatives of leading UK and overseas research consortia. These symposia will rapidly show-case and disseminate research results to the wider research community. The project will also publish a quarterly newsletter, which it will share within the wider industrial, government and NGO community, to promote consortium research activities and outputs.

At the end of the project, the partners will run a two day showcase of the outputs of the research. This interactive demonstration will be held in Media City, Salford Quays, Manchester, home for both the BBC and ITV in Northwest England. The demonstration scenario will be based around a reduced scale wind farm set up in Salford Quays. Live action will include autonomous air, surface and subsurface robotic systems working as a team to solve practical problems and an interactive element to engage participants on site. This will provide an exceptional demonstration of the technologies developed. We aim for at least one hundred physical attendees and one hundred thousand people via media coverage. Attendance and engagement will be supported through the provision of exhibition space and speaking opportunities. Children from schools in the Greater Manchester area will be specifically targeted for attendance of as part of our outreach responsibilities. The project thus expects to be a major showcase and advocate of engineering excellence in the UK to the next generation.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description 1. In a paper about to be published the techno-economics of drone maintenance for offshore turbines has been evaluated and solutions suggested. Third party service provider solutions at present seem to give the best combination of value at least investment risk. This would save 1% of operation costs, potentially up to £9 million per annum by 2030.
2. The use of drones for monitoring of internal faults with-in substations has been evaluated. Needed technical modifications have been investigated and proposed for such drones.
3. Machine-learning techniques to evaluate the huge data ocean wind farm sensors produce have been evaluated, using both hardware tests of units which are found to fail a lot, and synthetic data generated by advanced system simulation models. New machine learning methods for such systems have been investigated and discussion with the University of Manchester intellectual property arm is being undertaken on how to exploit these.
Exploitation Route - Follow-on projects are underway (see relevant section) at higher TRLs with industry to further develop the results.
Sectors Energy

URL http://www.homeoffshore.org
 
Description EPSRC IAA 263 Proof of Concept with Snowdonia Aerospace LLP and SwiftFlight Avionics Limited
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EPSRC IAA 263 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2019 
End 06/2020
 
Description Multi-Platform Inspection Maintenance & Repair in Extreme Environments (MIMRee)
Amount £4,211,328 (GBP)
Funding ID 104821 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 02/2021
 
Description Researcher 2 Innovator (R2I) Programme: AI for Wind Turbine Diagnostics
Amount £4,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Manchester 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2019 
End 06/2020
 
Description Studentship within Collaborative partnership with ORE Catapult
Amount £2,464,000 (GBP)
Organisation Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2018 
End 08/2023
 
Description Supergen ORE Hub - Flexible Fund - Enhancing Control Capability of ORE Systems for Stress Management and Grid Support
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2020 
End 12/2020
 
Description UAV Inspection of Offshore HVDC Substations
Amount £144,056 (GBP)
Funding ID IAA 275 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2020 
End 03/2021
 
Title Dataset for European Installed Offshore Wind Turbines (until 2018) 
Description This dataset is aimed to list and collect the main characteristics of the European Offshore Wind Farms (to end of 2017). Firstly, this work wants to update and extend the one started by Zhang et al. [1], who gathered the main information and identified the drivetrain types for some of offshore EU wind turbines' installed, until the end of 2011. Secondly, the wind turbines belonging to the population studied by Carroll et al. [2], [3] (in their reliability database), are identified and analysed more in details. The data are freely available to others to be viewed and downloaded, and used for their research. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This database is freely available to everyone, and according to the website hosting it (figshare) it has been downloaded 28 times, viewed 362 times, as of today 11 March 2019. 
URL https://doi.org/10.17862/cranfield.rd.6133673
 
Description Placement at ORE Catapult (B Hu) 
Organisation ORE Catapult
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution B Hu (PhD student jointly sponsored by University of Warwick and ORE Catapult) has continuously spent few weeks on-site at ORE Catapult, Blyth, working with their engineer to solve practical wind turbine condition monitoring challenges in world-leading industry. This collaboration aids translation of academic research into industrial R&D process for improving condition monitoring strategy.
Collaborator Contribution This collaboration has trained B Hu with deep insight of industrial challenges which can be learned to promote the practicality of academic research results.
Impact This has contributed three collaboration papers: Hu, B. Konaklieva, S. Xu, J. O. Gonzalez, L. Ran, C. Ng, P. McKeever, and O. Alatise, "Condition monitoring for solder layer degradation in multi-device system based on neural network", in the Journal of Engineering, doi: 10.1049/joe.2018.8025. B. Hu, Z. Hu, L. Ran, P. Mawby, C. Jia, C. Ng, and P. McKeever, "Deep Learning Neural Networks for Heat-Flux Health Condition Monitoring Method of Multi-Device Power," IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE), Baltimore, MD, 29 Sept-3 Oct, 2019. B. Hu, X. Guo, S. Konaklieva, L. Ran, H. Li, C. Jia, C. Ng, and P. McKeever, "Lifetime Consumption of Wind Turbine Power Converter in the Whole Wind Speed Range," The 9th International Energy Conference REMOO, Hong Kong, 16-18 Apr, 2019.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Placement at Ramboll (D Cevasco) 
Organisation Ramboll Group A/S
Country Denmark 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Internship of D Cevasco (PhD student supplied by University of Cranfield/Strathclyde to project) at Ramboll in Hamburg, Germany. This is a 6 month placement during which Ms Cevasco will develop a greater understanding of industrial practice which she can bring back to the project. It also aids industrial engagement and translation of the research into industry.
Collaborator Contribution Hosting and training of D Cevasco in industrial techniques and practices.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2019
 
Description 'Drone Academy' presentation by K Kabbabe 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Khris Kabbabe presented at the "Drone Academy" pilot study in North Wales. The aim was to introduce drones to young people, alongside inspiring and highlighting job and future career opportunities around the Meirionnydd area in Gwynedd. Other speakers included QinetiQ, the North West Police, among others. Khris highlighted emerging opportunities in the sector, including the role that the youth of today would have in the future renewable energy industry."
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Article in New Statesman 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As a follow-up to the Salford Quays Demonstration, the work was written up as part of an advertorial in the New Statesman - we have had an estimate of 50,000+ views based on the online data feedback.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.newstatesman.com/spotlight/energy/2019/11/cutting-edge-offshore-generation
 
Description HOME Demo at Salford Quays 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact On October 15th a publicity event was held showcasing some of the technology developed and used at the Lowry, Salford Quays. This included two floating turbines on which air and subsea robots were demonstrated. Industry, academia, some public and local media attended. Filming will be used for future publicity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description HOME Offshore Newsletter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Newsletter highlighting research by the project (quarterly)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description HVDC Newsletter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A monthly newsletter highlighting recent research, news stories and industrial development (monthly).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019
 
Description Manchester Science Festival - VR and Robot Exhibit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The project (in collaboration with the RAIN Hub) put on an exhibition of robotics and Virtual Reality applied to wind farms (using VR to test drone scanning of wind turbines). In three booths, the public could try their hand at piloting 'drones' to scan wind turbines against the clock. In a further stand the latest robotic drone technology was demonstrated. A number of public 'quizzes' were held to engage younger audience members with engineering.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Meeting/workshop with international professionals on offshore renewable energy devices numerical modelling and experimental testing 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Around 20 professionals attended discussions focused on the numerical modelling and experimental testing techniques for offshore renewable energy devices. The audience was made aware of the main achievements of the projects managed by the investigator, as well as the work in progress, and how to maximise collaboration - further outreach.
The audience asked for further info, and highlighted an interest to collaborate more formally through project collaborations and seminars.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Outreach activity at Milngavie Primary School, Milngavie, Scotland 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact On the 10th of January 2019, I have been very busy answering the many questions of around fifty young and bright students (10-11 years old) of the Milngavie Primary School, in Milngavie, near Glasgow (Scotland). The children have asked tens and tens of questions on Renewable Energy, like what is the most efficient power plant, how much does it cost an offshore wind turbine, how do you install a wind turbine offshore, and have shown to be very interested, curious, and knowledgeable about this subject. I was also asked what my daily job consists of, on which projects am I working, and why I enjoyed teaching and researching at the University of Strathclyde - the children were very interested in hearing how the governments (through EPSRC in UK and NSFC in China) are funding research to making cheaper and safer the maintenance of offshore wind farms, to develop multi-use offshore platforms for small communities, and to design offshore renewable energy devices hopefully, and with a bit of help from the 60 cm high LEGO wind turbine model that he brought, some young minds have been inspired toward a STEM career
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Participation in CanWea 2020, Toronto, Canada 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Adrian Stetco participated in CanWea Operations and Maintenance Summit 2020. Over 300 wind energy professionals from across Canada, the United States and Europe attended the CanWEA O&M Summit from January 29-30, 2020.

A critical meeting ground for wind energy stakeholders, the CanWEA O&M Summit highlighted in-depth expertise and actionable solutions, alongside an exhibition featuring 20 leading companies in the sector. Industry professionals kicked off the Summit with a look at what it takes to drive growth in the wind energy industry, while a handpicked panel of innovators provided insight into the reality of developing new wind energy solutions in Canada. Over 40 speakers provided cutting-edge technological insights and led interactive knowledge-sharing discussions on a range of topics, including cyber security, end of financed life, use of multiple technologies, advanced inspections, climate change and the future of wind energy in Canada and around the world. Health and safety were integrated throughout the two days, culminating in a special session on the development of robust health and safety programs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://canwea.ca/events/canwea-operations-and-maintenance-summit-2020/
 
Description Participation in Wind Expo 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Adrian Stetco participated in the Japan's largest show for Wind energy, networking with the colleagues interested in data-driven condition monitoring.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.windexpo.jp/en-gb.html
 
Description Presentation to Aalborg University - Prof. Mike Barnes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation to power systems group at Aalborg University Denmark on Project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Presentation to NEPTUNE Project consortium / Energyville Belgium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation to the NEPTUNE HVDC consortium in Belgium - this project is investigating the use of HVDC grids. Postgraduates from the Energyville multi-university site also attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Presentation to OFGEM on project - Prof Mike Barnes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation to OFGEM at Glasgow, with London office also teleconferencing in, to inform them about projects and update them on technology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Presentation to Strathclyde Research Group by Prof Mike Barnes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Talk to offshore research group at the University of Strathclyde on project by Prof Mike Barnes
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Prof Mike Barnes - Presentation to James Fischer & Sons 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk at away day to leading offshore services company James Fischer and Sons on project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Prof Mike Barnes - UETP Course 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Talk on the research and related technology at the leading European Workshop for postgraduate students (Electrical Energy Systems - University Enterprise Training Partnership).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.ees-uetp.com/
 
Description Project presentation at "All Energy" Exhibition, Glasgow, May 15th 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact "All Energy" is a two day conference and exhibition covering multiple energy vectors. Exhibitors include, industry, trade organisation, commerce and utilities. The presentation was part of a series organised by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in the exhibition hall.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Publicity article in the 'University of Manchester Magazine', summer 2019 edition 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The article 'Blowing in the Right Direction' featured in the University's summer 2019 special edition on social responsibility and included a large section on the work of the HOME Offshore project. The magazine goes to all staff at the university, is accessible by students and also goes to the wider NW community.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.manchester.ac.uk/magazine
 
Description Publicity stand at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A publicity event was organised by the University of Manchester to promote its leading research, to coincide with the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. The event, over one morning, was hosted right next to the main conference venue and was very well attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Robotics and AI for Nuclear (RAIN) Hub Year Two Report 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Details of the demo activities held at Salford Quays in October 2019 were highlighted in the Year 2 annual report.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Talk: "(How) Do Wind Turbine Work?" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Talk as part of the Hatfield Award (Hatfield College, Durham University) for students and general public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Visit by Prof Mike Barnes - to University Lille, France - presentation on project 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Visit to promote project to core research team at Supergrid (France's leading research institute into HVDC connections).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018