ORE Catapult creates ‘digital clone’ of 7MW offshore turbine

It will use sensor instrumentation to advance understanding of how large megawatt turbines behave.

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UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult is creating a digital clone of the Levenmouth turbine (CLOWT), which will use sensor instrumentation to advance the industry’s understanding of how large megawatt turbines behave and identify cost-reduction opportunities through design optimization.

The £450k project, with £215k funding support from the Scottish Government, will enable the Catapult to instrument its Levenmouth offshore wind demonstration turbine’s blades, tower and substructure, to monitor its behavior in real-world conditions. It will then use the outputs to validate the current design methodologies and tools available for building large-scale offshore wind turbines, reducing design inefficiencies and flaws.

Validated design modeling will benefit the industry’s researchers and supply chain, as design optimization and the ability to develop advanced simulations can support a significant number of Scottish engineering and manufacturing companies. It also offers opportunities to SMEs who can provide the sensors needed to instrument the turbine.

One of the first potential outputs from the project is expected to be the experimental verification of aeroelastic models in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde, which will verify the accuracy of existing industry design tools, reducing the modeling uncertainty associated with these simulations.

 “With the rapid scale in growth of offshore wind turbines, with 8MW machines now being readily deployed and the industry looking to develop 10MW turbines, the industry needs to rethink and revalidate assumptions associated with offshore wind turbine designs,” said Cian Conroy, ORE Catapult’s sector lead for wind. "Deploying sensors on the Levenmouth turbine gives us a unique opportunity to understand the behavior of a large turbine in real-world conditions, and benefit the industry, its supply chain and academia. Having a validated model is crucial for understanding the impact of design decisions in the weight and cost of different components of the turbine."

Ben Wysome, department head for Ramboll’s Offshore wind team in the UK commented on the engineering consultancy’s involvement in this project: “Ramboll is in discussions with ORE Catapult on providing expertise on structural health monitoring gathered in latest offshore wind projects. We are convinced that monitoring offshore wind turbines, delivered in structured and standardized way, will make offshore structures safer, allow operators to optimize inspections, and provide reliable data on the remaining useful lifetime of foundations, all of which will contribute to further reducing the cost of energy from offshore wind.”