Investigation of the novel challenges of an integrated offshore multi-purpose platform

Abstract

The Made in China 2025 report, highlights ocean renewable energy technologies as one of the 10 areas of opportunity for UK and Chinese companies. The "Outline of the National Marine Economic Development Plan" specifically targets the development of novel ocean farming methods, more productive but also more socially and environmentally compatible. In the EU, the "Blue Growth" program aims at sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors, already representing 5.4 million jobs and generating a gross added value of 500 billion euros a year.
Offshore structures are very costly. The main idea of a Multi-Purpose Platform (MPP), integrating (for example) renewable energy devices and aquaculture facilities, is to find the synergies to share manufacturing, installation, operation and maintenance, and decommissioning costs.
This has the potential to, save money, reduce the overall impact, and maximize the socio-economic benefits.

MPP development poses cross-disciplinary challenges, since they simultaneously aim to achieve several potentially conflicting objectives: to be techno-economically feasible, environmentally considered, socially beneficial, and compatible with maritime legislations. In the EU, previous research focused on farms of multi-megawatt MPP (ocean renewable devices + aquaculture systems), with very few/no attempts to investigate lower rated power systems suitable for island/coastal communities. In China, previous projects aimed at island communities focused on renewable energy, but they did not integrate any aquaculture elements.
Therefore, for island communities, novel fundamental questions arise, especially in terms of techno-economic feasibility and assessment and maximization of socio-environmental benefits at a completely different scale, but still requiring a whole-system, cross-disciplinary approach.

The proposed solution is to investigate which are the specific challenges arising from the integration of these different offshore technologies, and with a multi-disciplinary approach to tackle them, making sure that all the dimensions (technological, economic, social, environmental, legal) are taken into account.
The renewable energy technologies (Which wind turbine? Which wave device? What kind of solar panel?) and aquaculture systems most suitable for the needs of an island community will be identified, and the "cross-disciplinary" questions will be defined, e.g. "What is the impact of the noise generated by the renewable energy devices on the (closely co-located) aquaculture species growth rate?".

Answering these questions, the novel contribution will consist in developing approaches to assess the feasibility of an MPP system, focusing on: global MPP dynamic response to metocean conditions, overall integrated control and power management strategies, environmental impact, socio-economic risks and benefits.
The potential of these methodologies will be then show-cased through two case-studies, one focusing on an island community in China, and one in the UK.

This consortium brings together internationally recognised experts from three Chinese and three British universities and institutes, for a total of 20 investigators, in the fields of solar and offshore wind and wave energy, control systems for renewable energy devices, environmental and socio-economic impact of renewables and aquaculture systems, aquaculture and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture development, and ecosystem modelling. These investigators are also leading members of the research community, directly involved in: Renewable Energy Key Lab of Chinese Academy of Sciences, IEC and Chinese National Standardization Committee for Marine Energy Devices, Supergen Wind Hub, EU Energy Research Alliance JP Wind, ITTC Ocean Engineering Committee, the Royal Institution of Naval Architects Maritime Innovation Committee, ICES WG-Marine Mammal Ecology, International Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem, Ecopath Consortium Advisory Board.

Planned Impact

This project will provide solutions to the engineering, environmental and socio-economic issues that will help support energy and food security in the UK and China. This will have direct benefits for the respective national economies and public health.

The major result of the project will be to improve the understanding of the internal interactions among the Multi-Purpose Platform (MPP) subsystems, and the external interactions with the wider, external marine ecosystem. This will be of interest to a number of industries, primarily in China and in the UK.

Aquaculture industry is investigating the possibility to move further offshore, since at the moment they are limited to nearshore conditions, and the harsher far offshore conditions may be extremely challenging. Integrating their systems with facilities able to cope with the harsher conditions, and potentially finding in these a "safe harbour" for the aquaculture systems operation and maintenance, is potentially the best way forward to overcome these challenges. Furthermore, exploiting renewable energy will made the whole operation more sustainable.

The wind turbine, wave energy device, and solar panel industry will have access to the tools to assess the techno-economic feasibility of using their products in a multi-purpose platform, potentially opening a whole new market. Most importantly, thanks to the multi-disciplinary nature of the methodologies developed, the potential negative socio-environmental impacts will be "prevented by design". Furthermore, Europe has the largest number of wind turbines installed offshore, but so far has focused only on large machines (multi-MW); through this project and its case studies, the feasibility of lower rated power machines, integrated with aquaculture systems and serving the local community, will be demonstrated.

In order to make sure that these industries benefit from this research, a number of dedicated communications channels will be set up to allow effective interaction with a wide range of identified stakeholders and a broader community engagement. These include project website, micro blog (twitter or similar), and professional social media (LinkedIn or similar). In addition, a planned programme of stakeholder and outreach events will be organised to foster direct communication and external engagement. This will include two Open Community Workshops (OCWs), and workshops/special sessions at relevant offshore renewable energy conferences.
Existing well-established Chinese, UK, and European networks (see Pathways to Impact document) will be exploited to directly engage with them and strengthen communication and outreach activities. These networks are also active at the high Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs), where these industries operate. Project partners have strong links with all these organisations that will facilitate direct and effective communication.
An Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) will be established. Its membership will include all project partners, academic and industrial. Along with its role in project oversight, guidance and advice regarding industry drivers, it will also offer an opportunity for high level industrial engagement and the development of a project industrial network.

In addition to face to face and digital engagement, extensive use will be made of printed/web based media, articles will be offered to journalists of professional technical journals, such as Offshore Marine technology, The Naval Architect, Modern Energy Review, Fish Farmer Magazine, which can be read by industrial engineering managers, and the aquaculture industry worldwide. The data sets and numerical simulation outputs, once published by the investigators, will be made available for use by academic and industrial beneficiaries, through the online research data repository of the institutions involved in this project.

Publications

10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/R007497/1 03/07/2017 31/07/2018 £766,238
EP/R007497/2 Transfer EP/R007497/1 01/08/2018 02/07/2020 £574,901
 
Description By developing a framework enabling the multidisciplinary discussion among ocean engineers, naval architects, socio-economic scientist, marine biologists, ecosystem modellers, and others, it has been possible to highlight the multidisciplinary challenges and opportunities arising from the close co-location of offshore renewables and offshore aquaculture systems.
This means, for example, that we have raised on time the following potential conflicts: by having a wind turbine close to an aquaculture system, a potential ecological trap is created. in fact, while the fish in the aquaculture system attract birds, the wind turbine my damage birds.
Exploitation Route All the researchers considering a multi-disciplinary approach toward the development of multi-use platforms can be inspired by this framework to assess which multidisciplinary tensions and synergies may arise for these systems.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Education,Energy

URL https://www.ukchn-core.com/project/inno-mpp/
 
Description Article on "The Sunday Times", 11 March 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A ~500 words article appeared on "The Sunday Times" on Sunday the 11th of March, 2018, illustrating to the general public what a Multi-Use Platform is and what could be the potential advantages offered, as well as the main challenges to be overcome.
A member of a company offering offshore renewable energy solutions has contacted the PI to have further info.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description INNO-MPP Stakeholder event in Oban, August 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A group of 10 stakeholders were invited to the INNO-MPP project progress meeting, to discuss the approach adopted and the main results obtained. The project received many positive comments, but also some valuable insights on how to improve the approach that will be adopted for the following phases.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Japanese/Scotland Workshop on future offshore renewables, 27 February 2018, Aberdeen, UK, organised by MASTS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A presentation on "Co-located aquaculture and marine renewables" was attended by a UK and Japanese delegation of offshore renewable energy stakeholders from these countries, given on the 27 February 2018, in Aberdeen, UK. The audience followed up with some questions about what a multi-use platform is and what are the opportunities.
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 Oban Winter Festival November 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact On the 24th of November, 2018, in Oban, around 100 general public members attended the Oban Winter Festival, where a stand illustrating what a Multi-Use Platform is was manned by two INNO-MPP members, with activities illustrating what could be the benefit of platforms serving the needs of more than offshore industry.
Main outcome has been that awareness about these type of platforms has been raised.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
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 Presentation of the INNO-MPP project to stakeholders of the floating offshore wind industry, London, UK, June 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact An audience of 60-70 people from the floating offshore wind turbine community attended this presentation given at the Floating Offshore Wind Conference, 28-29 June 2018, ETC. venues Victoria, London, UK. Some of them were not aware of the concept of multi-use platforms, and some of them asked questions and followed up with others to assess the market potential of such emerging sector.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Seminar on Blue Growth ISSUGE Genova, at the University of Genova, Italy, May 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Around 30 postgraduate students attended this seminar on blue growth economy and multi-purpose platforms - followed by an intense Q&A session, where they asked more about technical and non technical aspects. Some also asked questions about PhD opportunities in renewable energy, job prospects, indicating that some have changed their view about renewable energy word.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.ianua.unige.it/events/tbd-9/
 
Description Seminar on Multi-Use Platforms at the Australian Maritime College, University of Tasmania, February 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Around 20 academics, researchers, and post-graduate students attended this seminar on Offshore Multi-Purpose Platforms: finding synergies among offshore industries. The discussion following the event sparked exchange of relevant references and suggestions on methodologies, also providing feedback on current approaches adopted in the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Talk on Multi-Use Platforms at the Annual Science Meeting of MASTS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Around 25 academics, senior researchers, postgraduate students have attended this seminar on the multi-purpose platform research activities and projects taking place in Strathclyde, sparking questions and discussions, followed by an exchange of relevant literature and discussions about collaboration opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Western Coast of Scotland modelling in relation to Celtic Seas Ecosystem Overview, Barcelona, Spain, 20-30 Nov 2018 
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 Around 20 professional practitioners and members for industry attended this workshop on ecosystem modelling for West of Scotland. The main aim was to raise awareness on and provide a first tutorial on the approaches to model ecosystems.
Attendants asked question to understand better.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018