Plymouth University Installs Offshore Wind Technology Simulator at Marine Navigation Center

Plymouth University is working with a world-renowned next-generation software provider to create a new system that could revolutionize the UK’s Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) sector

The institution has partnered with global technology company Kongsberg Digital, headquartered in Norway, to install one of its Kongsberg K-Sim Dynamic Positioning (DP) simulators at the Marine Navigation Center on the university’s campus. .

It will be used to simulate, test and optimize maritime operations throughout the life cycle of floating offshore wind installations (FLOW), which will provide offshore wind project teams and crews with facilities where they can verify, test and optimize. installation and maintenance projects. This will help to increase the efficiency, safety and profitability of the companies concerned.

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In addition to the research aspect, it will also be used to develop training for industry professionals, helping to meet national and international demand for such expertise in line with the global net-zero agenda.

Professor Deborah Greaves, Professor of Ocean Engineering at the University of Plymouth, said: “This simulator could be a game-changer in the future deployment of floating offshore wind technology. As the industry grows, we need to develop innovative and effective ways to install technology in new and challenging environments.

“I believe our partnership with Kongsberg Digital, and the opportunity to learn from their experience and expertise, can make significant strides in helping us achieve this goal.”

The K-Sim DP simulator is built on industry-leading Kongsberg DP technology and has the fidelity and realism needed for in-depth studies, mission planning, crew training and evaluation, where various challenging scenarios can be evaluated and optimized in a safe environment.

Andreas Jagtøyen, Executive Vice President Digital Ocean at Kongsberg Digital, said: “Floating offshore wind turbines are seen as an increasingly important part of the renewable energy sector, which is a rapidly growing market. We look forward to cooperating with the University of Plymouth to support this industry with cutting-edge technology leading to improved safety and increased efficiency in offshore wind projects.

The simulator was acquired through the university’s participation in the Cornwall FLOW Accelerator project. Led by Celtic Sea Power, and backed by a £4.8 million grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), through the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Program, the project will support Cornwall’s ambitions to play a leading role in the global floating offshore wind sector. The new facility will complement the university’s Cyber-SHIP laboratory and growing fleet of marine autonomous systems.

The UK’s National Floating Offshore Wind Test Facility, supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is also based within the university’s COAST Laboratory.

These, combined with the university’s global lead on research relevant to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 (life below water), position the university as the leading research institution towards a future of safe and sustainable future maritime operations.

FLOW turbines are increasingly seen as an integral part of the UK offshore renewable energy sector. The UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind and contributed around 10% of the UK’s electricity in the third quarter of 2019. However, the majority of existing wind turbines are fixed to the seabed at depths of water up to 60 m, and such sites are in limited supply.



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The university is involved in initiatives to provide the infrastructure, innovation and operational knowledge needed to accelerate the deployment of FLOW technology. This includes leading the Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) hub, which brings together stakeholders to ensure research is shared with government to inform and influence policy, and practitioners to provide advice to industry.

Professor Greaves said: “There is growing recognition of the need for floating offshore wind technology and the need for government to support their advancement. Our first floating offshore wind turbine test facility in the UK will allow physical modeling experiments with wind, waves and currents simultaneously. This will greatly improve understanding of how future technological advances might be affected by atmospheric conditions and provide a low-risk environment in which researchers can test new and innovative concepts.

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