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Autonomous Monitoring Unit for Offshore Applications

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MONOFFSHORE (Autonomous Monitoring Unit for Offshore Applications)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2015-10-31

The young and fast growing offshore wind industry requires monitoring systems by law (i.e. HSB 10% requirement in Germany or ISO19902 on global scale). There are no suitable products on the market yet. VCE is determined to develop, market and sell such systems under the new brand name OFFMOS, suitable for the 7500 assets operating offshore.

The elaboration of this feasibility study has been an eye opener on the huge potential the offshore market provides. The intensive contacts to potential future business partners showed that the target development hits an urgent need of the offshore industry. The potential services as elaborated here have been very welcome.
The conclusion of the authors is that this project shall continue from a strategic vision into serious development work and market implementation. Douglas-Westwood’s latest edition of the World Offshore Maintenance, Modifications and Operations Market Forecast 2015–2019 [6] predicts that more than USD 426 billion will be spent over the next 5 years on offshore oil and gas maintenance, modifications, and operations (MMO).

The business idea is to replace assessment and maintenance routines of Offshore Wind Power Assets (i.e. ISO19902) by innovative monitoring information based technologies. In Europe 40 major wind energy projects (investment value EUR 500 billion) generate a maintenance demand of EUR 4.35 billion annually. Innovative approaches can reduce this demand by 30%. The intended services we will offer, require only a small portion of this potential saving (budget savings €600 million per year, service market €19 billion per year) to make management safe and economic. In the midterm future the methodology and approach shall be extended to the offshore oil and gas industry where in the North Sea 1100 assets (replacement value EUR 620 billion) have required 3.5% annual maintenance costs so far. Considerable savings are anticipated, a new market opens.
VCE is determined to develop the necessary technology based on considerable previous development works and to create the tools for decision support in asset management. The methodology can also be applied to any structure of the construction sector like buildings, towers, power plants, transmission lines, structures of the energy industry, and will considerably enhance the management of the European transportation infrastructure assets and can be embedded into existing enterprise IT security concepts.

VCE is determined to develop the next generation of asset management tools for the constructed infrastructure. The overall objectives will be:

• Establishment of a Standardised Condition Index from inspection, monitoring and model based observer concepts.
• Development of a low power dynamic monitoring equipment to overcome the power supply problem.
• Transition from the current fragmented IT tools towards an integrated database driven decision support system.
• Introduction of ageing (degradation over time) into the online and real-time asset management process.
• Creation of a risk-based inspection and maintenance procedure relying on monitoring information.
• A web-based interface for asset managers that provides real-time and online information on single assets or systemic interaction between assets.

The results will be directly applicable by all kind of asset managers in all sectors where constructed infrastructure exists. It will have the potential to replace the current practice of inspection and strict periodic repair interventions (i.e. ISO19902 or DIN1076). A saving of 20% of current budgets (all sectors) for these activities is anticipated and realistic. The new system will have interfaces to be directly connected into existing management tools like Revit by Autodesk (BIM) or SAP.
A suitable business plan template has been selected along which the works have been performed. The main steps of the work have been:
• Create a market overview which allows assessing whether sufficient market potential is available to justify major development work. A database showing the existing and ongoing investment in offshore assets has been produced, which shows surprising numbers of potential business [refer to the Annex].
• Direct contacts to potential future partners and clients have been established. Several visits to the German offshore industry have been undertaken to discuss the idea with existing owners and potential investors. The conclusion is that the targeted development is a missing link for successful operations of these assets.
• In order to support the market entrance contacts to the German regulator BSH in Hamburg have been established and a seat in the German standardisation body VDI 4551 has been acquired. This allows the assessment that the methodology proposed will be accepted by the regulators, can be certified and will be part of coming standards.
• A business plan has been elaborated based on all this information collected. The cornerstones are provided in the subsequent chapters. The conclusion is that the technological risk is bearable and the success of the development work, if sufficiently funded, is of high probability.
• Further contacts have been established to the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen, Scotland. A booth has been rented for the 2015 Structural Integrity Management (SIM Conference) in Aberdeen. A partnership with the world-leading service provider to the offshore industry WOOD Group (AIG) has been established and future collaboration agreed. This will allow spreading this business on global scale.
• Towards the end of this project the German offshore wind industry offered the opportunity to demonstrate the technology on one of their platforms in the North Sea. On this occasion the idea has been tested and conventional equipment used. The test confirmed that the idea is feasible and that the targeted innovation points in the right direction. The results of these demonstrations have been convincing.
This final report contains only portions of this work due to the constraints in page numbers.
The work performed clearly states that the idea is valuable and the implementation is feasible. Only little changes in the objectives compared to the proposal have been identified, which are:
• Besides the structural health management service usage monitoring shall be offered. This demand of the operators is understandable and easy to implement as the proposed systems contain this information. A development step to extract decision making will be proposed.
• The importance ranking of individual services are very different in the old oil and gas industry compared to the new wind offshore industries. A clear focus on extension of life is top priority in oil and gas, whereas proper management of maintenance and inspection is of interest to the wind asset owners.
• The interviews with the various players showed standard solutions are not expected as all their assets are individual prototypes. Therefore the services have to be fragmented into modules which will be individually assembled.
• Nevertheless the development of stand-alone simple equipment for assessment of individual components is highly desired. This will be considered in the final plan of development.
With respect to concept and approach no major requests for revision have been identified. The proposed procedure already has a rather high level of professionalism.
With respect to the expected impact the figures show that the impact has been underestimated. The market potential is considerably larger than expected [5] and the other types of impact (socioeconomic and environmental) are also rated higher than anticipated.
The recent drop in oil prices has shifted the attention of the oil and gas industry more towards life extension rather than new investments [6]. Such a development comes at the right time. On the other hand the green drive for renewable energy supports the wind industry where a multi-billion investment has to be expected that requires asset management services.
With respect to the development of the business idea into a real business the following aspects are relevant:
• The total development budget proposed with EUR 1.5 million is justified and assessed to be sufficient to reach the desired technology readiness level of 9 (TRL9).
• It can be anticipated that already in the early stage of the project individual works at real cases can be acquired. These will considerably help to steer the development and contribute to the budget.
• The personal planning shows two aspects. First of all the key personnel to steer and guide the development is available and determined to that work. A problem might arise with the rapid growth of the activity due to the lack of sufficiently qualified personnel available in the market. For this purpose the intended collaboration with existing partners in Germany (Airwerk) and Great Britain (Wood Group) is considered to be essential.
• The partners own development funds are not sufficient to successfully implement the idea on the intended large scale. Therefore complementary funding by the European Programme in an SME instrument or FTI Programme will be essential for success.
• It is anticipated that after several successful applications, creating reference projects, the activity will be self-supporting in terms of financial requirements. It is further anticipated that the large players in the field (i.e. BP or Shell from Great Britain or RWE and TenneT from Germany) might be interested to acquire this new business line. Respective strategies are to be developed.

Market Potential Offshore Wind
Offshore wind has advanced by just under 2GW so far this year (2014), mainly in Germany. The country has a substantial pipeline, and while progress has been slow, it may now be accelerating. The UK has added 200MW since the start of the year and also has a substantial project pipeline [2, 4, 5].
In 2014 total investments in the clean energy sector reached a high of USD 310bn (EUR 277bn). The global wind sector saw inv
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