How algorithms could make wind farms the future of green energy
Surrounded by some of the world’s most productive seas, Britain is a global leader in offshore wind. Professor Dylan Jones, our Professor of Operational Research, is working on research that will transform the wind energy industry.
Working with a group of our researchers, Dr Jones is creating algorithms to identify the best locations for offshore wind. By doing so, he wants to improve the efficiency of wind energy from start to finish.
His research applies advanced algorithms to show that - at every stage of a wind farm's lifecycle - the more you know, the better the decisions you can make. Equipped with the right data, the result could be a more affordable green energy future than ever thought possible.
We have the tools we need to allow smart planning and development. If we use them, we can reduce costs in offshore wind and create a sustainable future
'These wind farms operate in harsh conditions. They have 100 metre high turbines in a cold, salty environment - so for sure, parts will need replacing. But when, and how often?
'The cost of not knowing what is going to happen to your parts is that you need to keep more spares in stock. You also need to plan for more things to go wrong. You’re in constant defence mode, and this is costly.'
Professor Jones and his team are looking at different elements across a wind farm's supply chain. Their research is also looking into wind farm demolition which, until now, has not been a factor in calculating the entire cost of offshore wind.
Professor Jones and colleagues have studied the day-to-day operation of wind farms too, where myriad factors affect efficiency. Including the weather which, without warning, can make working on a wind farm impossible.
'We have done a lot in offshore wind, but as a nation, we can't just stay there forever,' said Professor Jones. 'Now we have the tools we need to allow smart planning and development. If we use them, we can reduce costs in offshore wind and create a sustainable future.'