Data & Analytics

Study Shows Digital Twin Technology Can Reduce Materials by Nearly 30%

An EU-backed wind foundation design project revealed that predictive digital twin technology can reduce the steel weight and associated costs of offshore foundations.

Credit: Lamprell.

Engineering simulation technology company Akselos and energy service company Lamprell have announced the results of an EU-backed wind foundation design project that shows that predictive digital twin technology can reduce the steel weight and associated costs of offshore wind jacket foundations by up to 30%.

The European Union awarded Akselos €1.4 million in 2018 to conduct the research and pilot the Global Optimal Design of Support Structures (GODESS) project. The GODESS philosophy has been used as the basis for proof of concept on one of Lamprell’s UK offshore wind projects.

Lamprell now will apply the findings to reduce the amount of steel it uses to construct its offshore foundations.

The results were achieved thanks to Akselos’ ground-breaking MIT-licensed simulation technology, Reduced-Basis Finite Element Analysis (RB-FEA), which allows for unprecedented speed and accuracy through real-time data feeds. For Lamprell, that enables highly accelerated design work flows where multiple design alternatives can be tested against thousands of scenarios in minutes and in high fidelity.

“We are delighted at the results we’ve seen with Akselos’ digital twins, which provide a true step-change in our design process,” said Christopher McDonald, Lamprell’s chief executive office. “Through our digital business unit, we are focused on harnessing digital technologies to optimize multiple aspects of our operations. This is a great example of that strategy delivering results.”

The research will continue by creating a full digital loop from design to operations, bringing together parametric simulations, machine learning, and optimization routines to enable engineers to use relevant operational data to understand how designs behave under operating conditions, allowing for resilient, optimal designs based on real-world data.

“Our mission is to speed up the deployment of mass-scale offshore wind by ensuring that the design process is as optimized as possible,” said Thomas Leurent, Akselos’ chief executive officer. “The pilot project has shown just how much over-conservatism exists in the current design process and the astonishing amount of value that can be realized by adopting emerging technologies like our digital twins.”

Lamprell also is applying the technology to the design of oil and gas installation foundations and has seen a 10% reduction in weight so far.

The research was conducted with Eurostars, which is cofunded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation and the European Union. The funding is designed to support emerging enterprises that have shown excellence in research and development. Aimed at accelerating the development of innovative and rapidly marketable products, the funding award is the latest in a series of endorsements of the technology from major players in the energy world.