The opening of Siemens new £310m offshore wind (OSW) turbine blade factory in Hull is a milestone for the industry. It coincides with increased investment in operations and maintenance activities to service the increasing capacity of OSW farms, especially by the world’s largest OSW developer, Ørsted. This project brings together these two major players with world-leading academic researchers in a £7.64m, 5-year programme. Focussing on Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 1-3, it will address the fundamental research problems that will help to reduce the Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCoE) from OSW and to support UK supply chain growth.
One of the barriers to achieving the required cost reduction in the OSW industry is the presence of disconnects in the delivery chain between the turbine OEM and the wind farm developer/operator. For the first time in the UK, Siemens and Ørsted will jointly participate in a fundamental research programme to co-create and co-influence sector wide roadmaps. In addition, Siemens and Ørsted will drive the progression through the TRLs and improve links into the existing mechanisms for supporting early stage ideas in this sector aided by the collaboration with the EPSRC Supergen Wind Hub and ORE Catapult.
Direct impact through the industrial partners includes new generator designs for the next generation of even larger wind turbines at lower capital cost, structural health monitoring for reduced O&M costs, novel designs of blades and foundations. The creation of a new collaboration between the Universities of Durham, Hull and Sheffield will accelerate academic impact for this challenge and the transfer of leading research capabilities into related fields: equipment design, condition monitoring, structural health monitoring, and blade manufacturing and instrumentation.
This new industrial and university collaboration is built upon well-established individual partnerships. Siemens established the S²WP (Sheffield Siemens Wind Power) partnership with the Electrical Machines and Drives group at the University of Sheffield in 2009 and has engineers embedded at the University. You can read more about the success of this collaboration and hear from the two Principal Investigators here.