2017 autumn session reflection
Increased efficiency, new technologies, innovative ideas
The international conference BlueWeek 2017 – Autumn Session ended on Tuesday (10 October 2017). The organizers, the Endowed Chair for Wind Energy Technology at the University of Rostock, the Dutch research institute MARIN and the engineering service provider GICON® have drawn a positive balance. “We are happy that guests from all over Europe and the USA accepted our invitation to attend. Over two days, we have created an excellent platform for new and successfully-existing projects. In addition, the participants also praised the pleasant atmosphere away from the international presentations. This made it possible for the participants to establish many new contacts amongst each other,” said GICON® founder Prof. Jochen Grossmann, summarizing the two-day conference. Patron Christian Pegel, Minister for Energy, Infrastructure and Digitalization of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, praised the organizers of BlueWeek 2017 – Autumn Session for their decision to hold the conference in the “cradle of the German offshore industry”. The theme of the two-day conference was “Ocean Energy”. The agenda included the entire range of maritime topics, from improving the effectiveness of existing systems, such as the GICON® SOF, to the introduction of new technologies and visionary ideas for using the ocean’s surface, for example through the new EU project “Space@Sea”.
In his welcoming address in the historic auditorium of the University of Rostock, Minister Pegel once again affirmed the pioneering role of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in offshore energy development and outlined his ideas on the subject of “Offshore 4.0”, a computer-supported and intelligent form of energy generation: “The system of a wind turbine can provide the operator with all information on the status of his own turbine. In this way, the operator can switch his turbines on and off independently, creating a kind of virtual power plant. This is where the future path, which we actively support, will lead us”.
This tone was also the subject of presentations given by the Nuremberg-based company eolotec GmbH (“Blade Bearing Guard”) and the Bremen Institute for Production and Logistics GmbH at the University of Bremen (“Reactive Maintenance”). Through their projects, both developers have found possibilities to reduce maintenance costs of wind turbines by means of intelligent data evaluation and the use of technology.
Energy generation at sea must be more efficient
With the further development of the floating platform for wind turbines, the GICON® SOF, it has been possible to achieve third generation levelized costs of energy of less than 6 cents per kW/h. Prof. Jochen Grossmann, founder of GICON®, explained in his presentation that the use of floating turbines competes with fixed foundations and onshore turbines for energy generation and underscored the words of Minister Pegel, who spoke in his welcoming address that “irrespective of the construction of new wind turbines, we must increase their efficiency”.
New Paths at Sea
The EU-project “Space@Sea”, which is to be carried out by MARIN, LWET, GICON® and many other partners from the EU, aims to demonstrate ways the growing water surface can be used profitably in the coming years. The partners want to explore new ways of creating floating land areas for use, for example, as solar panels, as residential areas or as agricultural land.
Kite Power Systems also wants to break new ground. The British company is currently developing a 450 m² kite that will generate electricity above the ocean using cable winches, thus contrasting with conventional wind turbines. The first model is due to be launched in the spring of 2018.