E3 - Innovative sub-systems to provide higher and more consistent reliability and better performance.

E - Survivability, Reliability and Design

Status - published
Last updated on: 07/12/2023


Offshore renewable energy systems require maintenance and repair which is challenging in the ocean environment.


Innovative improvements in sub-systems that raise reliability and performance will reduce maintenance and repair requirements.

Context and Need

All offshore renewable energy systems involves complex equipment in a harsh and inaccessible environment. Offshore wind turbines require frequent visits for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. Tidal turbines and wave energy devices also have a requirement for maintenance, and the reliability of some trial devices has been lower than planned.

This challenge could be tackled through fundamental improvements in designs, materials and manufacturing, to make sub-systems more reliable and perform better.


Develop new component solutions with innovative, materials, designs, operating principles to plug gaps in system reliability and to extend or expand device performance.

Impact Potential

New sub-systems that have higher performance and better reliability will reduce the maintenance costs of all types of offshore renewable energy system. This will contribute to continued cost reduction in offshore wind, and help to bring tidal and wave energy into commercial use.

Research Summary

Current active projects:

  • Morphing-Blades: New-Concept Turbine Blades for Unsteady Load Mitigation
    Lead institution: University of Edinburgh

    Tidal turbines experience large load fluctuations due to the unsteady environment and the shear in the tidal flow. Mitigating these fluctuations without affecting the mean load would result in lower capital and operational costs. In this project we develop a morphing blade concept that achieves this goal by cancelling unsteady loads at the source.
  • FLOTANT (Innovative, low cost, low weight and safe floating wind technology optimized for deep water wind sites): The main objective of FLOTANT is the development of innovative solutions to improve the robustness and cost-efficiency of 10+MW wind turbine generators in deep waters (100-600m). This goal will be achieved through the design and test of specific components, as well as the assessment and optimisation of the construction, installation, operation and decommissioning techniques, in line with state-of-the-art practices and environmental constraints
  • Selkie: Selkie is an Ireland-Wales cross-border project led by University College Cork and Swansea University, in partnership with DP Energy, G&D Geosolutions, Marine Energy Wales and Menter Mon. This project aims to develop a streamlined commercialisation pathway for the marine renewable energy industry. The project has received funding from the European Union's European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme. Follow the project on Twitter.
  • Wave Energy Scotland: Wave Energy Scotland (WES) is driving the search for innovative solutions to the technical challenges facing the wave energy sector. Through our competitive procurement programme, we support a range of projects focused on the key systems and sub-systems of Wave Energy Converters. The aim is to produce reliable technology which will result in cost effective wave energy generation.
  • Offshore Wind Innovation Hub: The Offshore Wind Innovation Hub is the UK’s primary coordinator for innovation, focusing on offshore wind energy cost reduction and maximising UK economic impact.
  • Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence MEECE - The Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence is advancing the Welsh marine and offshore renewable energy sectors. Research, technology innovation and testing and demonstration, reduced cost of energy, improved reliability, and supporting the Welsh supply chain.

Previous projects include:

  • All Electric Drivetrain for Marine Energy Converters (EDRIVE-MEC): EDRIVE (EP/N021452/1) aims to tackle a fundamental weakness of current wave energy converters, namely the electro-mechanical Power Take-Off (PTO). EDrive will improve the PTO chain from generator through to grid interface by creating an all-electric solution. This will, in turn, address issues of reliability and maintainability.
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