C2 - Serial (volume) manufacturing of complex structural systems

C - Materials and Manufacturing

Status - published
Last updated on: 21/06/2022

Challenges/Opportunities

The cost of ORE structures for deeper water sites and further offshore is expensive. Although fixed offshore wind has seen significant price reduction, floating offshore wind, tidal stream and wave energy remain too expensive to attract significant investment.

Solution

Structural Design needs to integrate with advanced and emerging volume manufacture technologies.

Context And Need

The UK cannot afford to import all its planned 30GW by 2030 structures and cannot compete with the established monopile industry; Jacket Structures and floaters are potentially new markets for UK fabricators; So far efforts have been in prototype developments for marine renewables and floating wind. Facilitates new technology qualification. Expansion of supply chain

Summary

For ORE structures to be economically viable, economies of scale need to be realised. The design of next generation structural systems needs to transition from one-off laboratory scale models to volume fabrication to support wind/marine deployments in deep waters.

Impact Potential

Increased safety due to less offshore maintenance; Reduction in OPEX and potential reduction in CAPEX and deployment in deeper waters.

Better safety through reliability-based standards along with optimised CAPEX and OPEX

Research Status

There is some experience with Jackets but not at volume. A number of prototypes have achieved higher TRL levels, however the only floating array development comes from Equinor with practically no UK content

There is a good basis for this work through offshore Oil & Gas, but research work tends to be driven by individual developers working with certification authorities for project certification but not generic standards.

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Active research projects:

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Supergen ORE Hub Flexible funding Research

  • Development of Thermoplastic Composite Tidal Blades for Enhanced End of Life Recycling and Lower Cost Manufacturing (ThermoTide):
    Lead Institution: University of Edinburgh

    The ThermoTide project will investigate new sustainable tidal blade materials and manufacturing routes that are needed to meet mechanical fatigue and seawater erosion resistance requirements, facilitate low-cost manufacturing, installation and operation and enable maintenance, repair, recycling and reuse of tidal turbine blades. The proposed thermoplastic materials are processed rapidly at room temperature and can enable more effective assembly techniques such as automated thermal welding or novel, room-temperature cold infusion welding. Successful implementation of this novel thermoplastic composite technology in the tidal sector will reduce the manufacturing, maintenance and life cycle cost of blades and initiate a circular economy in this sector, leading to reductions in LCoE via reduced OPEX and CAPEX. This project will develop an understanding of the processing, mechanical performance, surface erosion, welding, effective repair and recycling of the new sustainable materials. Subsequent steps will be to design, manufacture and test a full-scale tidal blade from recyclable thermoplastic composites.

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Links to Industry Priorities:

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We would also like to invite UK researchers and industry stakeholders within ORE to submit links to research projects, both past and present, for inclusion within the landscape.

Therefore, if you have a UK-based research project within an area of ORE that you feel is relevant to a specific research theme or challenge within the Research Landscape, click HERE to submit your research project to the research landscape

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PhD projects in Offshore Renewable Energy

In order to better understand the breadth of ORE research currently being conducted in the UK, the Supergen ORE Hub has collated from its academic network, UK Centres for Doctoral Training and Industrial partners, a list of PhDs currently being undertaken in ORE.

Access a PDF of the list and find out more about including your PhD.

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