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The Intelligent Mooring System undergoing test at the Dynamic Marine Component test facility in early 2021

Testing of innovative mooring component holds promise for Floating Wind Technologies

The University of Exeter Offshore Renewable Energy Group and Intelligent Moorings Ltd have successfully completed the demonstration testing of an innovative hydraulic nonlinear mooring system. 

Mooring systems are critical sub-systems for floating offshore wind turbines and innovative nonlinear technologies have the potential to reduce peak loads and cut cost. The Intelligent Mooring System (IMS) is a large diameter braided sleeve surrounding a hydraulic reservoir, which acts as a ‘hydraulic muscle’ – stretching and contracting in response to external forces - to minimise loads on the mooring system.

The physical component tests have been carried as part of the Scottish Government-funded Floating Wind Technology Acceleration Competition (FLW TAC) run by the Carbon Trust’s Floating Wind Joint Industry Project (Floating Wind JIP).

During the course of the FLW TAC project, the component design progressed from Technology Readiness Level 4 (Technology validated in the lab) to TRL 5 (technology validated in relevant environment). The Intelligent Mooring System (IMS) was successfully tested at 1:3 (Froude Scale) using the Dynamic Marine Component test facilities at the University of Exeter.

The project team was able to directly address some of the concerns from the Floating Wind JIP partners and succeeded in demonstrating the performance characteristics and load capacity of the mooring component. The project also enabled the verification and further refinement of the numerical models that allow the detailed, optimised mooring design for floating wind installations.

David Newsam, CEO, Intelligent Moorings Limited summarised the collaboration:

“ The collaboration with the University of Exeter provided invaluable expertise and controlled and repeatable testing capability.  The project successfully developed the IMS design and operating parameters for floating wind applications in advance of sea trials later this year.”

Prof Philipp Thies, Associate Professor commented:

“Floating Wind is an exciting Engineering Frontier and physical demonstration testing presents a major effort to de-risk this new technology. Through this project we could provide our facilities and expertise. The technology reached a new step on the so-called Technology Readiness ladder. The next steps will be to proof the technology in the field.”

Hannah Evans, Manager at the Carbon Trust stated:

“We are really pleased to see the progress University of Exeter and Intelligent Moorings have made on the Intelligent Mooring System over the past 12 months. Their project has highlighted the value of collaboration between industry and academia to deliver innovative technologies, and we are delighted that they have the opportunity to demonstrate their technology in a marine environment later this year.”  

Date: 11 June 2021

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