We were part of a European initiative to develop a wind-wave power open-sea platform equipped for hydrogen generation with support for multiple users of energy.

Key facts

    • The three-year project, called H2OCEAN, aimed to develop an innovative design for an economically and environmentally sustainable multi-use open-sea platform.

    • The consortium comprised 17 partners from five European countries (UK, Spain, Denmark, Germany and Italy).

  • Funded by European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) provided three-quarters (€4.5 million) of the total €6 million funding.
H2Ocean Concept.

Impact of our research

The project sought to develop an innovative design for an economically and environmentally sustainable multi-use open-sea platform. We conducted the feasibility assessment of the combined offshore vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) and wave energy device system that will be providing electric power to the multi-use platform.

The aim was to efficiently harvest wind and wave power to power the several integrated activities on the multi-purpose offshore platform, including hydrogen production (evergy vector of the future), aquaculture, maritime surveillance and automation.

Why the research was commissioned

Oceans offer good opportunities for sustainable economic development – energy, fisheries and transport infrastructures are being established offshore more and more. However, this growing demand for maritime transport, resource extraction, offshore energy, fisheries and aquaculture is threatening marine ecosystems and sustainable maritime activities.

The fair exploitation of oceans space and resources is seen as crucial to enhance European competitiveness in key areas such as renewable energy and aquaculture. In particular, offshore platforms that can combine many functions within the same infrastructure could offer significant benefits in terms of economics, optimising spatial planning and minimising the impact on the environment.

Why Cranfield?

We have the existing tools and capabilities that allowed the aerodynamic and structural modelling of any vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) configuration.

We also have a track record in the study of the coupled dynamics of these complex systems involving aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, structural elasticity, and mooring dynamics.

The aerodynamic performance of a VAWT rotor is a critical factor in assessing the overall economic justification of the offshore energy generation system. A reliable validated prediction methodology is essential for assessing potential VAWT rotor designs.

Mechanical and structural assessment focused on materials and structural strength taking into account the structural dynamics of the integrated system. The modelling involved was complex and we have considerable experience of structural dynamics and structural integrity applied to floating systems (see the NOVA project).