Light Structures provides fibre-optic monitoring of floating offshore wind turbines, increasing safety and reducing financial risk. “Our ‘why’ is clear: No assets or lives lost due to structural failure,” states Terje Sannerud, CCO at Light Structures.
A floating offshore wind (FOW) turbine can be likened to a watermelon atop a piece of dried spaghetti, according to Sannerud. Only the watermelon weighs 400 to 500 metric tons. In addition, the turbine floats more than 100 kilometres offshore, in depths up to 300 metres, where it is moored or anchored to the seafloor.
This puts FOW turbines under enormous stress in extreme conditions. High wind and waves continually batter the floaters, creating stresses and vibrations that cause structural fatigue. “Fatigue is the enemy of floating wind turbines,” says Sannerud.
Read more: Light Structures teams up with DNV to deliver structural integrity and digital twin services
Light Structures has introduced its proven fibre-optic structural monitoring technology to the FOW industry. “We monitor the turbines’ response to dynamic forces at sea and report back to the owners about problems that need attention,” says Sannerud.
Known as SENSFIB, the system is based on Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) technology. SENSIB monitors stress, deflection and vibration and calculates fatigue on or in an object – in this case, on FOW turbines. These dynamics are most noticeable at sea as opposed to land.
“The FBG fibre-optic sensing technology gives SENSFIB a competitive edge compared to conventional strain gauge technology. Fibre optics provide a higher level of accuracy, no annual or biannual recalibration costs, and low maintenance costs with less intervention,” says Sannerud.
“We engineer unique solutions tailored to each wind farm. We provide real-time data and analysis, which allows us to predict what will happen,” he adds.
The solution provides valuable information about a structure’s condition before a loss occurs. “We quantify uncertainties in structural fatigue, increasing insight,” says Sannerud.
In the FOW industry, this translates into lower operating costs and less financial risk associated with turbines. Ultimately this will increase the competitiveness of FOW, which still has a relatively high levelised cost of energy.
Moreover, by warning of potential accidents, worker safety is improved and environmental risk is reduced.
“Recent history has many examples of offshore accidents that could have been avoided. With our monitoring technology, we warn asset operators of the need for maintenance or shutdown before lives and assets are lost,” he adds.
Sannerud sees huge market potential in this space. “The typical cost for fibre-optic monitoring is 1 to 5 per cent of the asset cost. Who wouldn’t want to invest in a solution that could save lives and millions of dollars?”
7. Affordable and clean energy
Light Structures increases the competitiveness of floating offshore wind by lowering costs, reducing risk and safeguarding assets.
8. Decent work and economic growth
Light Structures improves worker safety in the floating offshore wind industry.
14. Life below water
Light Structures decreases the likelihood of offshore accidents that can negatively affect marine life.