The Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre has joined up with environmental engineering consultancy JBA Consulting and metocean scientists at the Met Office to develop software which could revolutionise operational planning at EMEC wave and tidal test sites, as well as other marine renewables developments.
The system will be based on JBA’s ForeCoast® Marine Mission Planner – an advanced forecasting and decision support tool designed to help guide vessel operations days, weeks and months ahead.
This software will incorporate the vast amount of operations and maintenance (O&M) data and resource models from EMEC’s test sites to create a bespoke system to manage marine operations in Orkney waters. The Met Office operates and develops, in collaboration with science partners, a range of operational analysis and forecasting systems.
The ForeCoast® Marine Mission Planner will utilise Met Office ensemble forecast data to determine the probability of mission viability, rather than base these predictions on one forecast of the future, or a simple go/no go approach. This novel approach will provide greater confidence and consistent risk based decision making.
A range of algorithms will analyse EMEC’s data against the ensemble forecast data to determine whether the forecasted metocean conditions are likely to exceed the safe operating tolerances of the mission based on a breakdown of all mission components (e.g. lifting at port, steaming to site, operations at site, and return journey).
A pioneering ‘Gamer Mode’ will be used to optimise O&M decision making by exploring how different strategies would have performed if they had been used historically. Ultimately, the system aims to reduce O&M costs for marine energy technology developers, by helping optimise O&M strategies resulting in fewer failed maintenance missions.
Stuart Baird, Operations Director, EMEC, commented: “Given the complex nature of the marine activities at EMEC, it is essential that robust planning strategies are in place to ensure that the costs to oursevles and our clients are minimised and that the highest standards of health and safety are met. “This software has great potential to reduce costs for technology developers, improve the safety of marine operations, and provide a best practice model for other marine energy sites across the globe.”