In the harnessing of wind energy, the maintenance of offshore wind turbines accounts for a quarter of the total costs. Over the years TNO has been researching ways to maximise maintenance efficiency and thereby minimise costs. The emphasis is on predicting and planning maintenance, the influence of sea conditions and also the human factor.

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Cost and planning analysis

For example, we have developed tools that enable companies to make both short and long-term planning and cost analyses for the installation, maintenance and dismantling of the turbines. Our tools will help those companies save on costs through more efficient maintenance and more effective deployment of staff. These tools are among the best in the world.

Maintenance per wind turbine

The information from these tools makes it possible to calculate how much maintenance each turbine in a wind farm requires. Some turbines at specific wind farm locations are subject to lower loads, and may therefore require less maintenance. Conversely, other turbines are subjected to greater stress due to rainfall or turbulence. Customised maintenance requires accurate planning of maintenance tasks.

Deployment of staff

For the European project Safety and Productivity of Offshore Wind Technician Transit (SPOWTT) we worked together with turbine manufacturer Siemens, maintenance and ship movement companies and the University of Hull, which specializes in the human factor. For ships to transport maintenance staff to an offshore wind farm, the operator needs to know the weather conditions for that day, including temperature, wind speed and direction, wave heights and more. The tool we developed displays the most efficient planning and allocation of work activities in order to maximise the effectiveness of both the transit and the maintenance. This results in increasing accessibility to the turbines, making staff more readily available, improving productivity and reducing costs.

Optimising logistics

To help operators optimizing their logistics in and around offshore wind farms, TNO has developed the UWISE (Unified Windfarm Simulation Environment) platform. This allows simulations to be carried out using data on wave height, wind force, temperature and more. And makes it possible to predict what maintenance is required for each location at sea, what the costs are, and whether there are alternatives. Even the most complex offshore construction projects can be planned using this software in a browser environment. Costs and durations are identified in detail. Operators and installation companies around the world use this tool.

Roadmap

Offshore wind farms move up a gear

The expansion of wind farms in the Dutch sector of the North Sea is moving up a gear. In the spring of 2022, the cabinet designated three new areas for the development of wind farms. The original target... Read more
Our work

How large offshore wind farms produce optimal energy

With the huge increase in the number and size of wind farms in the North Sea, optimising the performance of wind turbines is becoming increasingly complex. The higher the turbines and the longer the blades,... Read more
Our work

Innovations for the large wind turbines of the future

New generations of wind turbines are following one another in rapid succession. Increasingly, longer blades allow for higher energy production and lower costs per kilowatt hour. We expect that in just... Read more
Our work

Designing sustainable wind turbines for the circular economy

No matter how beneficial generating wind energy is, at the end of their life wind turbine blades end up as landfill. In Europe alone, some four million tonnes of composite blade waste is disposed of in... Read more
Our work

Offshore wind conditions

For the construction of offshore wind farms, developers need a thorough knowledge of the wind conditions at the proposed wind farm location. These conditions are essential to establish the energy yield... Read more
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Ir Harald van der Mijle Meijer