RWE Innogy testing second metocean buoy

Monday, 23 March, 2015 - 10:15
RWE’s first trial with a Fugro buoy was supported by the research and development programme FLOW (Far and Large Offshore Wind), funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. (Photo: RWE Innogy)
RWE’s first trial with a Fugro buoy was supported by the research and development programme FLOW (Far and Large Offshore Wind), funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. (Photo: RWE Innogy)

After a first metocean buoy test in the Netherlands had delivered promising results, RWE Innogy now commenced the trial of an additional buoy as part of the world’s largest floating LiDAR validation project.

RWE Innogy, in partnership with the operator of Eneco Luchterduinen offshore wind farm, has successfully completed the trial of an innovative offshore buoy for measuring wind and wave data in the Netherlands. The floating measuring platform demonstrably fulfilled the requirements with regard to availability and accuracy. For the purpose of testing further technical configurations with various manufacturers, an additional floating LiDAR was installed off the Dutch coast now.

The newly launched trial is part of the world’s largest validation trials of floating LiDAR, that were recently commenced by the Offshore Wind Accelerator (a research initiative from the UK Carbon Trust involving the major offshore wind farm operators). “By testing different floating LiDAR units we help to increase the confidence in this innovative technology and to reduce cost for offshore wind parks in the long-term”, said Project Manager Niels Bijkersma from RWE Innogy. “At the same time we allow individual manufacturers to work towards the commercial acceptance of their buoys while gaining some valuable hands-on experience for our own projects.”

First trials in the Netherlands completed

In 2014, RWE Innogy and Eneco jointly tested the floating LiDAR measuring platform manufactured by Fugro Oceanor, which was installed some 75 km off IJmuiden in the Dutch North Sea, in the immediate vicinity of an offshore met mast operated by RWE Innogy. The buoy performed measurements for more than six months, which were subsequently analysed by an independent company and compared with those of the fixed met mast. Due to its location and high availability the latter was found to be very suitable for wind and wave measurements.

RWE Innogy’s decision to install an additional metocean buoy at the beginning of February 2015 follows on this previous test. The buoy manufactured by Eolos Floating Lidar Solutions mainly differs from the technology tested in 2014 in terms of dimension, power supply and the mooring system: “The Eolos buoy is a fully autonomous and all-in-one system which can accurately measure wind, wave and current. Its purposely designed structural skeleton and mooring system provides the necessary robustness to withstand the rough environment of the North Sea, while at the same time reducing the weight of the system”, summarizes Rajai Aghabi, CEO at Eolos Floating Lidar Solutions, the buoy features. An independent data analyst will analyse data on wind speed and direction for over six months.

The research project’s objective is to develop a cost-effective alternative to fixed met masts. Floating LiDAR systems are expected to only cost 10 to 20 % of a conventional measuring mast, indicating huge potential to make a considerable contribution to cutting development costs of offshore wind farms.

Katharina Garus

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