Smaller businesses get chance to demonstrate technology on offshore turbine

The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult) has today announced that it will run a competition for smaller businesses to gain access to its 7MW Levenmouth offshore wind demonstration turbine to prove and commercialise innovative new sensing technologies.

In a programme co-funded with the Scottish Government, the Catapult is developing a digital clone of the Levenmouth Offshore Wind Turbine (CLOWT), fitting sensors to its blades, tower and substructure to monitor its behaviour in real-world conditions.

In parallel, it will provide the opportunity to a number of emerging technology developers to demonstrate and validate their latest innovations alongside existing best-in-class products. Entrants to the competition will be asked to propose sensor technology that can help with the monitoring of blades, drivetrains and foundations, essential to understanding the operational environment and further bringing down the cost of offshore wind.

A lack of access to demonstration facilities has been identified as one of the major blockers to innovation and resulting cost reduction in offshore wind. It is believed that this will be the first time that small and medium enterprises [SMEs] have had such an opportunity to gain access to a next generation offshore wind turbine.

Scottish Government minister for business, innovation and energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “Recent rapid growth in offshore wind brings with it the need for the sector to rethink how large megawatt turbines behave and to target lower costs through better design.

“Supported by the Scottish Government, this project lets SMEs gain access to ORE Catapult’s Levenmouth demonstrator turbine, helping them to better understand the challenges of operating in an offshore wind environment, and drive forward further innovation in the sector.”

ORE Catapult senior partnership manager, Cian Conroy, added: “The continued growth of the offshore wind industry is providing opportunities for companies from sectors as diverse as marine, oil and gas, aerospace and power generation. The challenges of operating in the hostile and complex offshore environment require innovative technology solutions, and through demonstration at Levenmouth we can help the very best to accelerate their development and route to market.”

The Catapult will run a briefing workshop on the competition for SMEs to gain demonstration access to the 7MW Levenmouth Offshore Wind Demonstration Turbine on 12 January 2017.

Technologies should be at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 or higher and should be non-intrusive to the operations of the turbine, or require any significant alteration of their device. Companies with sensing technologies that can monitor blades, drivetrains and foundations are invited to register at https://ore.catapult.org.uk/news-events-gallery/events/clowt-sensors-technology-demo/

ORE Catapult was established in 2013 by the UK Government. It is the UK’s flagship technology innovation and research centre for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy. It aims to reduce the cost of offshore renewable energy and supporting the growth of the industry.

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