Results of FLOW research programme for Borssele offshore wind farms central theme at Winddays 2016, June 15 and 16

ECN was a key partner in the Far and Large Offshore Wind collaborative research programme (FLOW) that ran between 2010 to 2015. Many companies—from turbine manufacturers, offshore contractors through to ship builders—collaborated with research institutes and universities to realise a cost reduction for offshore wind, stimulate the Dutch green economy and to strengthen the dominant position of the Dutch offshore sector in the offshore wind farms in Northern Europe.

The results of many FLOW research projects will be presented on June 15th and 16th during the Winddays 2016 in Rotterdam. For an overview of the topics we will present on, please see below.

Although the programme aimed to develop knowledge and technology for far offshore wind farms, many results have significant impact for next to build Dutch offshore wind farms: the Borssele wind farms are relatively close to shore. Especially the improved positioning of the Dutch industry that is better equipped to build and operate offshore wind farms will help to reduce costs for the Borssele wind farms.

Key themes of FLOW
Technology to operate the wind farm with the assistance of a wind farm controller has been demonstrated to increase the energy production and to diminish the additional maintenance costs. The large number of turbines in offshore wind farm give rise to significant wake effects This influence of turbines on each other leads to losses and additional maintenance costs. Wind farm controllers diminish these effects and are very relevant for the wind farms at Borssele and Hollandse Kust.

Cost of operation and maintenance (O&M) for offshore wind farms are significantly larger than for onshore wind farms. The main reason is accessibility. ECN developed the O&M system that monitors in real time the condition of the wind turbines and provides the operator with decision support to optimize maintenance and minimize costs.

For several of the technologies developed by ECN, a reliable mechanical strain measurement device is required. ECN developed a strain measurement system based on fibre-optics that is easy to install, more accurate to operate and has significantly longer life-time than current sensors. Dutch companies will make the ECN sensor into a commercial product. The existing ECN system can be used to optimise operation and maintenance decision.

The above sensor is essential for the implementation of individual pitch control for wind turbines. This technology aims to use the pitching options of the wind turbines to reduce mechanical loads considerably while not reducing the power output.

Wind measurements at the North Sea have been performed in the FLOW consortium: a 100m-high metmast was installed 70km from the coast of North-Holland. ECN performed the measurements at the RWE mast ‘IJmuiden’. ECN publishes the measured data on this website. These data are very important for the development of the wind farms at Borssele and Hollandse Kust.

The aforementioned themes will be discussed more in depth during the Winddays by our experts:

  • Improvement of advanced design tools/application of Advanced Design Tools to a three-bladed offshore wind turbine (presentation by Stoyan Kanev)
    The brains of a modern wind turbine: advanced wind turbine control as an essential ingredient in the recipe for cost of energy reduction. How to achieve an optimised balance between the conflicting objectives of maximizing the power capture and minimising the loading on the turbine’s components? How can turbine control software make turbines lighter and larger, and reduce their maintenance costs?

  • Keep on Running I - monitoring blade loads (presentation by Rens Savenije)
    ECN’s fibre optic blade monitoring system (FOBM) is ready for commercialisation. How does this technology contribute to the shift from reactive to proactive maintenance? And what is the future of loads control such as IPC based on optical measurements?

  • Electrifying the offshore grid connection scheme (presentation by Edwin Jan Wiggelinkhuizen)
    A framework for optimising the design of offshore wind farm electric systems will be presented along with an application example. This framework performs an automated multi-objective optimisation, which enables a quick evaluation of a large number of offshore wind farm designs and design constraints iterations.

  • The windfarm in its element (presentation by Koen Boorsma)
    Important technology to characterise the wind field in the wind farm is the LiDar, which applies laser beams to measure the wind field in the wind farm. These wind speed measurements are used to optimise the wind farm operation. This presentation will shine LiDAR light on wind farm efficiency: how can remote sensing devices contribute to reducing cost of energy?

Read more: Effects of rotor induction on the propagation of disturbances towards wind turbines

About ECN Wind Energy
ECN is the Dutch flagship R&D and services centre for sustainable energy technologies. In the field of wind energy, ECN is a true pioneer and technical authority. Our internationally leading position has been built up through 40 years of dedicated investment and experience. At ECN, in-depth knowledge of the whole wind power plant system is combined with world leading full scale test facilities and accredited measurement experts.

Today, ECN wind energy’s core mission is to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy. This is achieved by applying innovative solutions in the industry and driving ground breaking R&D forward. ECN supports companies at the design, implementation and operational level. A broad and deep knowledge of the total wind power plant resource and system allows ECN to offer clients a unique combination of cutting edge and immediately applicable solutions.

Want more info?
Are you interested in how ECN can help you, or would you like more information on our products and services? Then please contact us or take a look at our Wind Energy expertise page.

If you would like to attend the ECN presentations during the Winddays 2016 you can register on the Winddays website.