Mooring monitoring for floating offshore wind: Everything you need to know
What is mooring monitoring?
Equipped to the mooring arrangements of floating offshore wind turbines, mooring monitoring systems capture load and strain data in real time. This provides a comprehensive overview of events to allow operators to optimise designs and respond to unsafe load cases, mitigating the risk of costly health and safety incidents. For increased assurance, select systems can be fitted outside the primary load path using advanced indirect load measurement technology.
Why do I need mooring monitoring?
Load and strain monitoring ensures that a floating offshore wind farm’s mooring arrangement possesses the necessary integrity for safe operations throughout its lifecycle.
Investing in a mooring monitoring system not only reduces the chance of mooring line damage or failure to an ALARP level, but also enables you to collect and curate the critical data insights needed for a host of risk-management and LCoE initiatives, including model verification, fatigue analysis, predictive maintenance, and the remote management of floating wind turbines.
De-risking platforms across all stages of array development, mooring monitoring also demonstrates a high standard of operational safety and security, offering peace of mind to insurers, project developers and public sector stakeholders.
What should I consider when assessing mooring monitoring?
Model verification involves generating and verifying modelled predictions to forecast the performance of floating offshore wind turbines. Enabled by mooring monitoring, this critical part of pre-commercial development validates the structural integrity of platforms, while delivering data insights for future optimisation.
Certain mooring monitoring systems are modular by design, allowing model verification to be completed without any change to your pre-existing configuration.
Mooring line damage and failure
Mooring line compromises can have considerable but avoidable health and safety, and financial repercussions for floating offshore wind farms. Any damage to mooring lines requires emergency maintenance and can result in costly downtime. More concerning still is the prospect of mooring line failure. Such incidents have the potential to take entire arrays offline indefinitely, while lost assets present a considerable hazard to other sea users. Mooring monitoring mitigates these risks, protecting assets along with your LCoE objectives.
For maximum safety and security, it is recommended that you deploy advanced mooring monitoring for all floating turbines within an array to monitor these throughout their entire life cycles.
Fatigue analysis is the process of predicting asset lifecycles, along with any potential structural integrity compromises. Harnessing load and strain monitoring, fatigue analysis operations capture large datasets using a method called ‘rainflow-counting’ to measure asset load cycles. Advanced mooring monitoring systems allow operators to understand the structural health of mooring arrangements, with higher registered loads indicating an increased possibility of failure. Operators can then immediately conduct predictive maintenance by replacing mooring lines to ensure the floating wind platform’s continued safe operation.
Alternatively, if load results are lower than expected, operators can take advantage of asset lifecycle extension opportunities for increased cost-efficiency, such as minimising the number of mooring line replacements throughout a floating turbine’s life.
Mooring monitoring is a key driver for the remote management of floating wind turbines in hostile and isolated deep water locations. Its real-time load data output is an integral component for the digital dashboards needed to accommodate the safe operation of automated platforms across globe-spanning distances. Enabled by mooring monitoring technology available today, remote management and other IoT (Internet of Things) operations reduce the need for costly and hazardous offshore platform visits, increasing safety and reducing downtime.
Direct and indirect load monitoring
Direct mooring monitoring devices are situated within the mooring line’s primary load path to directly measure the load exerted on shackles, pins and other equipment types. On the other hand, indirect mooring monitoring determines load by measuring its results. While there are various methods for indirect measurement – including inclinometer and subsea buoy systems – calculating load from strain is the most widely-established approach. To accommodate the unique needs of our customers, we offer a wide range of direct and indirect mooring monitoring solutions.
For many configurations, there are significant advantages to using indirect monitoring technology. As indirect measurement avoids the primary load path, it is more cost-effective when monitoring loads upwards of 100 tonnes – which would otherwise require the costly manufacturing and transportation of heavy-duty equipment.
The most sophisticated systems offer condition monitoring in addition to load and strain measurement. Met-ocean data, meteorology, wave height, current direction, current speed, GPS location and numerous other data fields can all be captured by this technology. Systems of this scaledeliver a detailed overview of platform performance, securing projects from initial pre-commercial development to full-scale deployment, while helping operators to answer the unique monitoring requirements specified by project developers.
Different operations need varying levels of instrumentation to enable effective mooring monitoring. Recognising this, we can accommodate any pre-set configuration or project size. Depending on your requirements, our solutions range from the supply of individual load shackles and pins, to full-scale monitoring systems.
Mooring monitoring for different platform designs
Our solutions can support any floating offshore wind mooring arrangement, including spar buoy, semi-submersible, barge and TLP (tension leg platform) designs.