Marine Engineers use simulation design tools to predict and refine how structures interact with the sea and seabed. Using simulation allows them to test and develop designs before more costly prototype construction and testing. The current generation of simulation tools largely focus on a single design parameter – such as aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, structural dynamics and geotechnics. Developing linked simulation will help speed up design, lower costs and improve results.
Why is this important and what is the breakthrough needed?
Many existing tools have significant shortcomings – perhaps they do not capture important non-linear effects, are not fully integrated across all the different disciplines involved in the design, are not coupled across the appropriate scales, or lack appropriate validation.
Better design simulation tools that work as a whole system will enable design in shorter time-frames and at lower cost.
What is the potential impact on CAPEX, OPEX, performance, survivability, reliability, arrays?
More accurate whole-systems design models will enable faster and cheaper design up-front. They also offer better assessment of the long term performance of the design.
Design simulation can be applied to all ORE technologies, lowering CAPEX and OPEX and making investment more attractive.
Whole-systems simulation that better informs across all impacts, will contribute towards social and environmental acceptance.
Is there a suitable funding stream?
Fully integrated tools, such as required for floating structures, might be funded through the research council, as they involve elements of more fundamental research. Discrete elements of an integrated tool may be funded by the industry (e.g. more advanced wave loading models).
Are there existing projects in the area?
There are several ongoing research projects tackling specific modelling issues in regards to ORE. However few projects appear to be developing fully integrated/coupled simulations design tools. Identified projects that are examining coupled simulation tools include:
Other projects are working on aspects of ORE design required in an integrated tool.
- Extreme wind and wave loads on the next generation of offshore wind turbines
Long term numerical simulation of offshore wind turbine monopile foundations
Tidal Stream Energy - Designing for Performance (EPSRC Fellowship – Professor Willden, Oxford).
Does the expertise exist in the UK?
The UK is well placed to tackle this challenge. There is a good track record within the academic sector of developing aspects of design tools for ORE. This experience can be built on to couple / integrate different models to provide fully integrated tools.Design tools can be exported to other geographic regions.
Which sectors does the challenge address and is it cross cutting?
This challenge applies to all ORE sectors, with some overlap between them.
Whole Systems Approach
This depends on the scale of the design tool – a device specific design tool may be rather narrow in focus whilst a farm specific design tool will necessarily have to take a more holistic approach.