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New FieldTwin capabilities to drive integrated optimisation for offshore wind projects

We are living in a time of unprecedented growth for the offshore wind sector, as government ambitions continue to exceed expectations and an expansion into deeper water settings for floating wind is unfolding at incredible pace.

While this is great news for our global transition towards net-zero and a cleaner energy mix, it also presents many challenges for supply chains, project financing and resourcing. Digital transformation may feel like an overused buzzword, but any industry undergoing the pace of growth that we see in offshore wind must put digital at the forefront of its delivery strategy. Digital, when done well, contextualises uncertainty into risk and opportunity and brings stakeholders into alignment around common data, accelerating the delivery of more with less.

The challenge for the wind industry is that the speed of this growth has generally outstripped the evolution of the digital workflows and tools available. Compared to the oil and gas industry – where major digital transformation has been at the forefront of risk reduction, HSE and asset management for over a decade – project design workflows in offshore wind remain largely confined to desktop solutions with dated user interfaces and schematic, 2D visualisation.

But a change is happening. Emerging software vendors are leveraging cloud technology and APIs to bring key workflows up to speed and enable interoperability between solutions. This presents a game changing opportunity for the next generation of digital solutions to support integrated optimisation and enhanced project delivery.

FutureOn’s industry-leading digital twin platform, FieldTwin, is ready to support and drive this change. For seven years now we’ve been driving true digital transformation in the oil and gas sector: now we’ve transferred that knowledge and technology to evolve the platform as a solution for wind farm design, supporting both standalone wind projects as well as integrated Power-to-X and electrification projects. FieldTwin offers offshore wind developers a different way – an innovative way – to approach collaborative project delivery.

We provide developers with a digital thread that stitches all elements of a project together from the very earliest concept phase. From the outset, a common data environment is constructed, and that data model evolves to capture uncertainties and focus decisions as the project progresses.

FieldTwin provides a digital audit of the project evolution – a technical audit trail that is also linked to risk, uncertainty and economics – that supports integrated multi-scenario analysis. FieldTwin overcomes the current status quo within the sector of siloed workflows of ArcGIS, Excel and PowerPoint, with teams looking at different data streams. It brings multidisciplinary collaboration into the project, providing dependable data integrity  from the very start.

Where FieldTwin further differentiates itself from the current solutions is the ability to contextualise both engineering and commercial workflows within a fully integrated geospatial 3D model of the offshore project setting. This enables integrated optimisation across surface, subsea and subsurface domains – all in real-time within a single digital model. FieldTwin also supports rapid import of existing geospatial project data through our GIS Rules Engine, while the simple drag and drop user experience lets users build out new project concepts within minutes, complementing and enhancing rather than replacing existing workflows.

FieldTwin presents an innovation as an integrated software platform in its own right, but also drives innovation in how project teams and decision makers work together to deliver projects from concept to first energy, faster. FieldTwin is the kind of digital technology that will be essential to ensure that the offshore wind industry can meet its ambitious targets for net-zero and beyond, and simultaneously de-risk new frontiers in floating wind and hybrid Power-to-X.

FutureOn has conducted studies with our oil and gas customers in which they indicated a 70% reduction in the time taken to get to a FEED study in offshore projects when using FieldTwin to design and deliver the project. The time reduction largely results from FieldTwin’s collaboration functionality but also the ability to quickly constrain and reduce uncertainty through rapid visual workflows across these multi-disciplinary teams.

The successful evolution of a project from concept phase through to the engineering and validation of detailed design is all about optimisation. The challenge project teams face is that they often work on a sub-system in relative isolation, where multiple, discrete component pieces need to be optimised in their own right before they interact with others.

FieldTwin enables optimisation at a systems-of-systems level. An example in a wind farm would be the optimisation of the mooring line configuration. It may work perfectly for one turbine in one given location but when 100 turbines are added to the layout it may become clear that bathymetry, metocean conditions and maritime industrial activity varies over a 300km2 permit area. A design at one turbine location may not optimised for all eventualities.

These aspects must be looked at in a holistic way and project teams must map out the dependencies across very complex systems. FieldTwin’s API links many of these sub-systems around a common interface and a dynamic twin of the project which models impacts across these dependencies, in real-time. This architecture enables a shift from sequential optimisation – where one team optimises only to find the solution does not work when passed to the next team – into digitally driven workflow underpinned by integrated optimisation. The alternative sequential approach is incredibly time consuming and results in project teams having to simplify what they do. They write off uncertainty as risk and results in unnecessary redundancy in the design work – in turn increasing cost and reducing efficiency in project delivery and operations.

Wind farm developers have told us that they are frustrated stepping through this long, linear processes of optimisation where they must come all the way back to the beginning, rebuild everything and import and export data between all those stages.

What we provide is a central data model and digital twin of the project, with an open API enabling full interoperability across the different engineering and commercial teams during the design phases. FieldTwin connects updated workstream data and scenarios in real time, contextualising issues, challenges and misalignment against the wider farm system, allowing the respective teams to collaborate around the solutions for integrated optimisation.

FutureOn is pleased to be exhibiting FieldTwin at Wind Energy Hamburg this week. Our team will be showcasing FieldTwin’s rich 3D geospatial interface and dynamic layout tools for offshore wind, as well as our integrations with MS Excel, ArcGIS and Global Wind Atlas.

These capabilities and workflows mark FieldTwin’s first iteration as a solution for wind projects. Just as we have continued to evolve the tool for the oil and gas sector with new capabilities for the delivery of hybrid energy projects, so too will we develop FieldTwin as a best-in-class solution for the wind sector. We will be delighted to connect with new technology partners to explore the potential for integrated solutions in FieldTwin and join forces around our open API to accelerate project delivery in offshore wind and optimise projects for LCOE, emissions and NPV in the process.

Interested to learn more about FieldTwin’s functionality for wind projects?

Visit us on the UK Pavilion – Stand B1.OG.305.5, Hall B1 UF at WindEnergy Hamburg from September 27-30.