OffShore Wind

NeoSight®: Asset integrity Management for the Offshore Wind Farm Industry in the Digital Age

Stress Engineering Services, Inc. has developed NeoSight, an asset integrity management tool that helps to significantly reduce unexpected failures in offshore wind farms.

The Project
NeoSight: Prevent failures, streamline operations and maintenance procedures, and extend the operational life of an Offshore Wind Farm, resulting in lowered OpEx and a significant drop in the levelized cost of energy (LCOE).

The Challenge
Offshore wind has become an established industry in Europe and is growing quickly in Asia, with North America being the next frontier. As the United States pushes into the offshore wind energy industry, it becomes clear that all stakeholders need to consider the challenges including:

  • Very deep water with complex seafloor bathymetry, particularly off the west coast and Hawaii
  • Unexpected failures due to severe weather events such as tropical cyclones, tsunamis, hurricanes and nor’easters.
  • Absence of an established offshore wind supply chain.
  • Providing electricity at a price that is competitive with fossil fuels.

In addition, offshore wind farm developers, insurance companies, transmission companies, ratepayers, and other ocean users such as fisherman and shipping companies are all affected by failures in an offshore wind farm that can result in the following consequences:

  • Loss of one or more assets including associated substructures and installation costs.
  • Loss of life for maintenance crews and fisherman.
  • Reduction in electricity generation resulting in repair costs and the potential for death or serious injury due to lack of electricity for heat or medical equipment.
  • Damage to marine life resulting in costly fines.

Overall, for US offshore wind energy to be successful, the industry must provide cost effective, low risk solutions for electricity production while overcoming these specific challenges.

The Solution
Stress Engineering Services, Inc. has been working in the offshore oil & gas industry for nearly 50 years. We have pioneered analysis techniques for offshore riser systems. Our oil & gas industry knowledge is essential to the emerging U.S. offshore wind industry since there are many similarities between the two.

One critical tool that has significantly helped reduce unexpected failures in offshore wind farms is asset integrity management. Stress Engineering Services, Inc. has developed an asset integrity management platform for offshore structures called NeoSight, which uses physics-based digital twins to predict failures by tracking the system health (i.e. loads, stresses, fatigue damage, corrosion). NeoSight reduces risk, decreases operations & maintenance (O&M) costs and provides the data needed to justify operation beyond the design life.

Neosight uses a combination of predictive maintenance and prognostic maintenance. Predictive Maintenance uses real time measurements to track the health of a component and trigger an action to inspect or replace it based on the measured data and knowledge.

However, it is logistically impossible and very costly to monitor every component in an offshore wind turbine. NeoSight’s solution is a physics-based digital twin of the asset. This digital twin is an analytical model of the offshore wind turbine that, in conjunction with measured data, predicts the asset health at any location, regardless of whether a sensor is present. The digital twin is calibrated by placing virtual sensors at any location. Additionally, RAMS, which is SES’s analytical software engine behind NeoSight, has successfully predicted asset response in a hurricane.

As data is collected over time, machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms learn how the asset behaves and is able to correlate certain failures and part replacements with changes in asset responses. NeoSight learns the symptoms of a failure before it happens, predicting with a high degree of confidence when a component is likely to fail. This methodology is Prognostic Maintenance.

By tracking asset performance over time, NeoSight collects a record of the actual fatigue damage accumulation. While this is a low priority early in the wind farms life, as the assets age, it’s likely that the day to day environment is less significant than designed for. As a result, there is a high chance that the critical components have not exceeded their fatigue life. Data from NeoSight can justify operation of the offshore wind turbine beyond its design life.

In addition, NeoSight can also detect a flaw or damage based on the measured data, allowing the developer to take corrective action and assess the remaining life without ever having to physically inspect the damage.

The Design Process
The asset integrity management system relies on a digital twin. The flow chart shown below describes the steps in the digital twin design process.

The oil & gas industry has spent decades addressing the challenges of operating in a hurricane prone environment and operating in very deep water with floating facilities. During the growth of offshore oil & gas, the industry suffered billions of dollars of damage while also amassing a wealth of knowledge about the failure modes of fixed and floating offshore structures. The engineering and lessons learned are critical to the success of the offshore wind industry.

The relatively minimal investment in the Predictive and Prognostic Maintenance methodologies employed by NeoSight results in a significant reduction of risk and failures. This methodology will be critical to the success of the offshore wind industry as it faces the unique challenges introduced by US waters.

Success will be based on proven reductions in O&M costs, unplanned downtime and extended life.
Table 1 shows the potential savings in OpEx by using Asset Integrity Management.

Table 1. Estimated OpEx Savings Using Asset Integrity Management

However, the benefits of asset integrity management don’t end there. Figure 1 demonstrates the power of NeoSight from multiple aspects:

  • The fatigue damage predicted from NeoSight is accumulating at a slower rate than the design prediction.
  • The ability to detect a flaw or damage is based on the measured data.
  • The presence of an anomaly had a significant impact on the remaining fatigue life of the platform.

Figure 1. NeoSight Fitness-for-Service Expiration Date Projections


Stress Engineering Services, Inc. is ready to embrace the energy transition to offshore wind and we have amassed the tools and expertise needed to help the offshore wind industry thrive.

“Digital solutions are essential in de-risking and reducing LCOE of offshore wind projects.”

At SES Renewables, we are a passionate, multidisciplinary team of expert problem-solvers ready to tackle your most challenging technical problems. We pride ourselves on our innovative engineering solutions, which elevate the way businesses operate. Since 1972, we have provided forward-thinking solutions for companies and industries requiring in-depth technical knowledge and proven performance in engineering design and analysis, thermal and fluid sciences, instrumentation, and testing.

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