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RESEARCH & INNOVATION


FEATURE SPONSOR


PROJECT AURA GENERATES WINDS OF CHANGE ON THE HUMBER


As offshore wind energy progresses towards becoming established as the low-carbon, low-cost energy source for the UK, it has found a home on the Humber. Recent major investments in the region from leading offshore wind power manufacturers and producers, in particular from DONG Energy and Siemens, place the Humber at the centre of the rapid global growth in the sector. These substantial commitments are opening up tangible opportunities for the region to support and help develop the sector – for the whole country and internationally.


CHALLENGES


But the offshore wind industry is still a relatively immature business. Operational and maintenance activity, in particular, are undergoing rapid development and expansion. A number of challenges characterise advancement at this pace, including strong demand for sector specific skills in a scarce market and relatively low levels of standardisation within the sector in areas such as training and health and safety.


This can drive up operational costs, including for investors and insurers, adding to the overall cost of producing energy. Comparatively immature networks and supply chains may also present challenges and the need for innovation to keep pace with a dramatically fast- evolving sector is demanding.


CENTRAL ROLE


The University of Hull is ideally placed to play a central role in helping to meet these challenges, and so support and facilitate offshore wind growth. With more than 15 years’ experience of working in the sector, and having been involved in providing expert advice and reports for more than half of the current generation output of UK offshore windfarms through its Institute for Estuarine and Coastal Studies, the University boasts a wide range of relevant expertise and capability.


WORLD-LEADING RESEARCH


With world-leading research into the marine environment and seabed conditions, the University has conducted experimental modelling to examine


novel foundation systems for offshore wind turbines using its unique Total Environment Simulator. Further, expertise in control and intelligent systems engineering sees robust modelling methods applied to the industrial control problems of offshore wind turbines. The University is also helping to develop knowledge around condition monitoring, fault-tolerance and control design.


LOGISTICS INSTITUTE


The University’s Logistics Institute is playing a key role in helping to understand the influence of the renewables sector in the Humber through a study of social, economic and environmental impacts across the region and supply chain. Professor Amar Ramudhin, Director of the Logistics Institute, commented: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make the Humber the UK powerhouse for offshore wind. This project will ensure that we capitalise on the gains already made.” Researchers from the University’s Risk Institute are investigating human factors in risk management, to get a more


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www.windenergynetwork.co.uk


HUMBER UPDATE


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