This program line consists of five topics:
- Wind Turbines and the Wind Farm
- Network and Digitisation
- Transport, Installation, and Logistics
- Operations and Maintenance
The topic Foundations fits closely with the existing strengths of the Dutch offshore wind industry. Research in this program line focuses on developing knowledge of the surroundings, such as dynamic soil-construction interaction, effects of extreme waves, tides, and wind on the wind turbines and foundations. The objective is that foundations can be designed and manufactured more efficiently and life cycle aspects can be better assessed. Furthermore, this topic includes the design and development of innovative foundations concepts that can contribute to cost reduction (investment, transport and installation, maintenance, and decommissioning).
2. Wind Turbines and the Wind Farm
This topic has an important place within the TKI Wind op Zee program because of the strong knowledge base (tower design, wind turbine control, blade design etc) and supply industry for OEMs (e.g. transmission systems, bearings, and blades). We are also starting to see new activities in the field of developing and producing offshore wind turbines.
Research on this topic is on the one hand focused on developing knowledge on the environment (in particular the wind climate) by improving wind measurement and modelling the wind climate and the interaction with rotor blades and construction – factors necessary to achieve more efficient designs, lower operational costs, and a better integral life time prediction. On the other hand, the wind turbine and wind farms themselves can be objects of research and the development. Within the topic, research is focused on optimising the existing technology and researching potential breakthrough technologies in the next generation of wind turbine technology and components (such as vertical axes and airborne wind energy).
3. Network and Digitisation
Network and Digitisation focuses on lowering costs and optimising wind farm performance by improving the connection to the electricity grid and ICT infrastructure. The technological challenges are in the field of cabling, HVAC-HVDC, reactive power compensation, DC switch equipment, power electronics, and electronic protection and control (SCADA). Digitisation research investigates the role that digitisation and ICT can play in scaling up offshore wind energy and in developing applications and technologies such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, and robotisation in combination with value chain integration from generation to usage of renewable energy. Aspects like data acquisition and communication and OT/IT integration can be part of such research projects. Cybersecurity is a crucial topic in digitisation to ensure the energy supply’s safety.
4. Transport, Installation, and Logistics
The topic Transport, Installation, and Logistics aligns with the existing strengths of the Dutch offshore and maritime industry. Research on this topic focuses on new and improved installation techniques to improve efficiency and reduce costs of the transport and installation process. It also investigates the possibility to develop the next generation of installation and maintenance equipment and vessels, including autonomous shipping and robotised installation and maintenance. An additional theme is focused on reducing emissions resulting from installing and maintaining offshore wind farms.
5. Operations and Maintenance
Within this topic two factors play an important role: costs and reliability. Between one-fourth and one-third of offshore wind energy costs are related to operating and maintaining the wind farms. Operations and Maintenance (O&M) could be further optimised, also by scaling up the sector. This has become an important point for cost reduction. Reliability and availability of offshore wind farms will become increasingly important as we move to a production capacity of ±60 GW. Production failure of large volumes could have dire consequences. In addition, spatial aspects play an important role on the busy North Sea, increasing the importance of minimising maintenance activities. The long-term goal is to reduce costs by increasing availability (zero downtime) and decreasing maintenance (zero on-site maintenance).
Both large and SME companies in the Netherlands are active in the area of O&M, a market that provides many opportunities. Dutch knowledge institutes are similarly active and have a strong position. Effective maintenance can increase the availability of wind turbines, which leads directly to higher production and lower energy costs (Levelised Cost of Energy). Moreover, this topic researches cost efficient designs of wind turbines. It also seeks to develop concrete products, methods, and tools that can reduce costs and increase availability.
In the program document you can find an overview of all program lines and research topics.