Marine-i has agreed to support a pioneering new approach to using space data to support the development of renewable energy sites, such as floating offshore wind. This new system could help reduce the risks and costs associated with these developments.
Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i is designed to help the marine technology sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.
The project is the brainchild of 4EI, a company with a track record of commercialising space-based data and deploying services into multiple industries. Space data can provide a wide range of information that can be used to improve safety and reduce costs in and around offshore assets. Satellite Earth Observation can provide data on a range of indicators, including weather, sea state, environmental impacts, vessel activity and thermal signatures.
Richard Flemmings, chief technical officer of 4EI, explained: “Our overall aim is the creation of a new marine data management and analysis service that will initially be targeted at the rapidly developing floating offshore wind opportunity in the Celtic Sea.
“Improving and expanding system functions and efficiency whilst identifying critical market opportunities will produce direct cost savings, carbon savings and risk reduction for developments in this sector, increasing market competitiveness and accelerating its penetration into the low carbon energy generation market.”
4EI engaged with the Marine-i project in order to gain support for the vital first stage of the project, which is to identify innovative Earth Observation data sources and align these with traditional and “bankable” consenting information. This research stage will lead to a commercialisation plan for integrating space data and services into the Offshore Renewables sector.
Neil Farrington of Marine-i partner, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, said: “The development of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea presents an exciting opportunity to commercialise the use of Earth Observation data in the offshore energy sector, with Cornwall taking a lead in demonstrating its application and value. Utilising space derived data could also displace more traditional methods of environmental data collection that are heavily dependent of vessels or aircraft and their associated high levels of emissions.”
Marine-I programme director, Prof Lars Johanning, added: “If we are to realise the full potential of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, then this will require radical new approaches and cutting-edge solutions, which is exactly what 4EI are demonstrating. This project could have a crucial role to play in helping us to achieve the ambitious targets that we have set for floating offshore wind development over the next 10 years. It would also put Cornwall at the forefront of a completely new approach to satellite data which would have worldwide applications.”