Operation and maintenance (O&M) costs are the main source of offshore energy costs due to the difficult accessibility of wind turbines, but also due to environmental conditions. Operation and maintenance costs can represent up to 30% of the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) and detection and monitoring systems could help achieve the expected drop to 70 EUR/MWh by 2030.
The highest criticality (in €/kWh) in offshore wind is caused by structural failure, which occurs mainly due to corrosion processes that were not adequately predicted and monitored. For that reason, it is crucial to implement new monitoring, diagnostic, prognostic and control tools in offshore wind farms (WF) to enable wind farm operators (WFOs) to make intelligent predictive operation and maintenance decisions, fully considering the structural components in the actual and future state.
WATEREYE aims to develop a comprehensive solution that enables WFOs to reduce OPEX by 4%, accurately predict the need for future maintenance strategy and increase annual offshore wind energy production. For this purpose, WATEREYE:
1 / develop a monitoring system capable of remotely estimating the level of corrosion at precise locations on the wind turbine (tower, splash zone, platform-to-tower junction) as a support tool for predictive maintenance to significantly reduce operation and maintenance costs and reduce the risk of operational failures; new ultrasonic corrosion sensors (ad-hoc, low cost, high accuracy, fast response, non-invasive) will be developed, as well as highly efficient and robust wireless communications specifically designed for the challenging communication environment of offshore wind turbines. In addition, a new drone-based mobile platform will be developed to move a mobile sensor inside the WT tower.
2 / develop improved predictive models by analysing acquired data in novel ways (semantic models);
3 / develop wind turbine and WF control algorithms with accurate consideration of structural health, giving operators the freedom to choose the best balance between energy production, protective control and predictive maintenance.