The University of Plymouth and the globally-renowned provider of next-generation software and digital solutions, Kongsberg Digital, are joining forces to create a new system that could revolutionize the UK’s floating offshore wind (FLOW) sector. By combining cutting-edge simulator technology to provide a synthetic offshore wind environment in real-time and the university’s R&D expertise, the partnership aims to provide offshore wind project teams and crew with facilities to verify, test and optimize installation and maintenance projects.
Vital to this project is a state-of-the-art KONGSBERG Dynamic Positioning (DP) simulator, which soon will be installed at the university’s campus. The K-Sim DP simulator is built on the market-leading KONGSBERG DP technology and has the necessary fidelity and realism required for thorough studies, mission planning, training and assessment of crew, where various challenging scenarios can be evaluated and optimized in a safe environment.
K-Sim DP will be used to simulate, test and optimize marine operations throughout the lifecycle of FLOW installations. This will provide key insights into solutions that will increase efficiency in both installations and operational maintenance, increasing safety and cost-effectiveness for the companies involved.
In addition to the research aspect, it will also be used to develop training for current and future industry professionals, helping to meet the national and international demand for such expertise in line with the global net-zero agenda.
Professor Deborah Greaves OBE, Professor of Ocean Engineering and Director of the Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Hub, said: “This simulator could be a game-changer in the future deployment of floating offshore wind technology. As the sector expands, we need to develop innovative and effective ways of installing the technology in new and challenging environments. I believe our partnership with KONGSBERG, and the opportunity to learn from their experience and expertise, can make significant strides in helping us to achieve that.”
The new DP simulator has been acquired through the university’s involvement in the Cornwall FLOW Accelerator project. Led by Celtic Sea Power and supported by a grant of £4.8m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), through the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme, the project will support Cornwall’s ambitions to take a leading role in the global floating offshore wind sector.
The new facility will complement other leading strengths within the university, including its unique Cyber-SHIP Lab and increasing fleet of Marine Autonomous Systems. The UK’s national Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Test facility, supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is also based within the University’s COAST Laboratory. These, combined with the University’s global lead on research relating to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life Below Water), places the University as the leading institution for research towards a future of safe, and sustainable future maritime operations.
“Floating offshore wind turbines are seen as an increasingly important element of the renewable energy sector, which is a rapidly growing market. We look forward to cooperating with the University of Plymouth to support this industry with cutting-edge technology, leading to improved safety and increased efficiency in offshore wind projects,” commented Andreas Jagtøyen, Executive Vice President Digital Ocean, Kongsberg Digital.