The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult is keen on collaborating with UK universities to accelerate offshore turbine powertrain research and development by combining academic and industry skills and resources to respond to industry’s needs.


Image: 15MW Drivetrain Facility with Scaffold. Photo courtesy of Offshore Renewable Energy.

Previously, ORE Catapult has established two research hubs through collaborations with the University of Bristol in blades and the Universities of Strathclyde and Manchester in electrical infrastructure.

ORE Catapult will invest around £700k in the new Powertrain Research Hub (PTRH) over five years and university applicant(s) will provide a match-funding as a minimum.

The PTRH will focus on addressing three key research topics and themes: reliability improvement and advanced test methodologies; advanced health condition monitoring and prognostic technologies; and development of next generation powertrain components for larger sized wind turbines.

The PTRH aims to provide future technologies for larger turbines and to research solutions to improve turbine reliability and availability, with focus on minimizing human interventions throughout the life of the wind turbine.

The PTRH intends to build a stronger complementary offering of research, innovation, demonstration and representative testing for the offshore renewables sector by collaborating with leading academic expertise.

ORE Catapult is inviting applications from universities interested in the joining the PTRH to help deliver its current and future powertrain research program.

Recently, the Catapult signed a five-year agreement with GE Renewable Energy to take forward next generation turbine technologies, including the Haliade-X, the most powerful wind turbine in the world so far.

ORE Catapult head of strategic research Paul McKeever said: “With industry moving towards larger wind turbines, we have an opportunity to significantly contribute to reducing the cost of turbine technology. It is essential to maximize this opportunity by also tackling the challenge of improving powertrain component reliability and availability.

“By developing the next generation of powertrain components, and improving their lifespan, we can significantly reduce the related operations and maintenance costs and subsequently minimize the number of human interventions for potentially dangerous turbine repair work at sea.

“We know from our current Research Hubs that by pooling academic and industry expertise, the UK is better positioned to respond to industrial challenges and drive forward key research and development. This, in turn, enables the UK’s offshore renewables sector to lead in addressing a number of these challenges.”

Applications will be accepted until 12 noon on October 25, 2018.

The Catapult will organize webinars for interested applicants and participants from September 24.