Wind-energy contest

Engineers have been challenged to help cut the cost of offshore wind energy in a UK government-backed competition that is offering up to £100,000 worth of technical assessment to the finalists.

The Carbon Trust, a low-carbon-technology think-tank, hopes that the contest, which is open to engineers and designers worldwide, will uncover novel wind-turbine foundation designs suitable for deep-sea locations. Foundations are a major component of offshore installations and can account for up to 20 per cent of project costs at depths of between 30m and 60m. The competition’s organisers hope that the winning design will deliver cost savings of up to 30 per cent over the full lifecycle of the turbine.

Entries will be assessed by a judging panel, which will include representatives from RWE Innogy, Dong Energy, Scottish Power and StatoilHydro. Those shortlisted will receive up to £100,000 for in-depth assessment and the winners will see their designs built and installed as at-sea demonstrators.

Kim Ahle, Dong Energy’s head of offshore technology, said: ‘Faster, easier construction, the use of self-floating foundations, improved structures and quicker transportation will be among the things designers will need to consider.’