Predictive digital twin technology can reduce the steel weight and associated costs of offshore wind jacket foundations by up to 30 percent, a study has shown.
Offshore energy industry consultants and digital twin tech provider Akselos and offshore construction company Lamprell announced the results of the EU-backed wind foundation design project on Monday.
The European Union awarded Akselos 1.4 million euros in 2018 to conduct the research and pilot project GODESS – Global Optimal Design of Support Structures. The GODESS philosophy has been used as the basis for proof of concept on one of Lamprell’s UK offshore wind projects.
Lamprell, which after years of building offshore drilling rigs, has seen an increase in demand for services in the renewables space, will now apply the findings of the study to reduce the amount of steel it uses to construct its offshore foundations. Still, according to Akselos, Lamprell is also applying the technology to the design of oil and gas installation foundations and has seen a 10% reduction in weight so far.
According to Akselos, the results of the study were achieved thanks to Akselos’ MIT-licenced simulation technology Reduced Basis Finite Element Analysis (RB-FEA), “that allows for unprecedented speed and accuracy through real-time data feeds.”
For Lamprell, Akseols says, that enables highly accelerated design workflows where multiple design alternatives can be tested against thousands of scenarios in minutes, and in high fidelity.
Lamprell’s Chief Executive Officer, Christopher McDonald, 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%. 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 optimize 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 companies said that the research would 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 optimized 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 realized 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.”
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.
“Aimed at accelerating the development of innovative and rapidly marketable products, the funding award is the latest in a series of endorsements of the technology from major players in the energy world,” Akselos said.
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