The European Union has awarded a €1.4 million research grant to digital simulation firm Akselos, whose technology is used to optimize the design of offshore wind turbines – an approach that is claimed to greatly lower the cost of wind power through better design.
GODESS (Global Optimal DEsign of Support Structures) is a project that aims to maximize efficiency in the design process, with a view to ultimately lowering costs to the consumer – often cited as the main barrier to uptake of wind power.
Based on estimates from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, the innovation, which GODESS aims to deliver could reduce the cost of materials for substructures by up to 25%.
The initiative will allow data collected by Akselos’ predictive digital twin technology during wind farm operations, to be used to validate structural integrity and make the design process more efficient. This digital feedback loop will empower wind turbine designers to make better, more sustainable designs.
Akselos, the project lead, will be working with Denmark’s LICengineering to deliver an open innovation platform that enables engineering companies to create their own design optimization modules, utilizing Akselos’ best-in-class simulation engine. Faster and more accurate than anything on the market, the company’s tech will allow engineering companies to reduce both OPEX and CAPEX and reduce project timescales.
Thomas Leurent, CEO of Akselos said: “We are passionate about accelerating the energy transition with digital technology, and this project will enable us to contribute in a meaningful way. We’re working with a number of international wind operators on R&D projects in other areas of the wind power lifecycle, but the initiative to optimize the design of turbines is crucial to lower the cost of wind power as we move towards a low carbon world.
“I look forward to proving the concept with our partners, LICengineering, and I’d like to extend my thanks to European Institute of Innovation and Technology for its continued vision and commitment to effecting change.”
The project works by creating a full digital loop from design to operations, bringing together parametric simulations, machine learning and optimization routines. This innovative approach enables engineers to use relevant operational data to understand how designs behave under operating conditions. It also allows for resilient, optimal designs based on real-world data.
Around 20,000 engineering hours are spent during the design phase of wind farm foundations. As it stands, this knowledge is effectively lost when the wind farm is delivered. Retaining this engineering knowledge and reusing it throughout the lifecycle of the asset will drive new business models for engineering companies.
Hans Jorgen Riber, R&D Director of LICengineering said: “GODESS, which is based on Akselos’ predictive digital twin technology combined with our plugins, will enable us to reduce the design period significantly for the increasingly complex support structures of offshore wind turbines.
“By combining increased simulation speed with cost-based design, we will be able to make an important step change in offshore wind development and reduce the cost of energy significantly.”
The EU funding represents another step forward in the digitalisation of the energy sector as companies continue to invest in software that has the potential to make their assets as efficient as possible.
Eurostars is co-funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation and the European Union. The funding is designed to support emerging enterprises that have shown excellence in R&D. Aimed at accelerating the development of innovative and rapidly marketable products, the funding award is the latest in a series of endorsements of the technology from major players in the energy world.