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Ramboll’s True Digital Twin technology has the potential to increase lifetime of offshore wind farms

A pilot-test of consulting engineering group Ramboll’s True Digital Twin technology at the Wikinger offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea, has revealed a significant analytical potential to increase the lifetime of offshore wind.

The pilot-test is part of the ROMEO project, an initiative supported by the EU research programme Horizon 2020 that aims at advancing the energy transition in Europe and reduce the costs of offshore wind energy.

“Our goal with this project is to demonstrate the feasibility and impact of data-driven O&M strategies by having the True Digital Twin continuously deliver instantaneous insights on the physics of the assets that are being monitored,” said Ursula Smolka, Lead Consultant Asset Management Wind at Ramboll. “The results from this pilot-test are stunning, revealing a significant potential for lifetime extension and cost reductions in operating and maintaining offshore wind structures.”

According to Denmark-based Ramboll, which operates also in Poland and Romania, the full power of a True Digital Twin lies within the continuous monitoring of the factors that can affect the structural integrity of a wind turbine over its entire lifetime. The monitoring process can be done at all possible locations using Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) solutions, cloud computing and advanced mathematical calculations. The True Digital Twin can detect structural integrity issues like failure of jacket braces, excessive scour or corrosion.

“The concept of the True Digital Twin makes detailed design models available for predicted lifecycle management and provides the framework to incorporate measurement findings of a specific turbine into the simulation world,” explained Mrs Smolka. “We can track the history of exposure of an individual structure or detect damages and replace the extensive instrumentation of traditional methods with mathematical calculations.”.

Ramboll has also demonstrated how fatigue can be monitored at all possible locations of the structure while keeping the costs low using the innovative modal decomposition and expansion algorithm. A verification study has confirmed that damage equivalent loads matched well with loads estimated with the conventional strain gauge approach. 

“The benefits of the True Digital Twin are very clear to us and this pilot-test has now reinforced our initial expectations,” added Mark Paine, Offshore Asset Integrity Manager at Iberdrola Renewables and one of ROMEO project partners. “Ramboll has made great progress in the ROMEO project and we look forward to collaborating with them during the next phases of the project looking at the potential of reducing human offshore time and number of offshore visits”.

During the next phases of the ROMEO project, Ramboll and its partners will continue exploring the added value of continuously monitoring offshore wind structures. The project partners anticipate a reduction of human offshore time for annual inspections and a reduction in the number of planned time base offshore visits.

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