Marine operations software

Mon, 11 May 2015

Three companies have cooperated to develop a software programme that is claimed will revolutionise the operations at wind and tidal energy sites. The aim of this software is to predict whether the operations taking place at a site in the future are viable in the light of expected conditions and this it is claimed, will greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of support operations.

The three companies involved are JBA Consulting, the Met Office and EMEC who operate the test site in the Orkney Islands covering both wind and tidal systems. They have developed Marine Mission Planner which was originally developed by JBA under the title of Forecoast Marine Mission Planner, an advanced forecasting and decision support tool designed to help guide vessel operations days, weeks and months ahead. This new software will incorporate the vast amount of operations and maintenance (O&M) data and resource models from EMEC's test sites to create a bespoke system to manage marine operations in Orkney waters.

The Met Office operates and develops, in collaboration with science partners, a range of operational analysis and forecasting systems. The ForeCoast Marine Mission Planner will utilise Met Office forecast data to determine the probability of mission viability, rather than base these predictions on just one forecast of the future, or a simple go/no go approach. This novel approach will provide greater confidence and consistent risk based decision making.

A range of algorithms will analyse EMEC's data against the ensemble forecast data to determine whether the forecasted metocean conditions are likely to exceed the safe operating tolerances of the mission. This will be based on a breakdown of all the mission components (e.g. lifting at port, steaming to site, operations at the site and the return journey). A pioneering 'Gamer Mode' will be used to optimise O&M decision making by exploring how different strategies would have performed if they had been used historically.

Ultimately, this Marine Mission Planner aims to reduce O&M costs for marine energy technology developers, by helping optimize O&M strategies resulting in fewer failed maintenance missions. "Given the complex nature of the marine activities at EMEC, it is essential that robust planning strategies are in place to ensure that the costs to EMEC and our clients are minimized and that the highest standards of health and safety are met," said Stuart Baird, Operations Director at EMEC. "This software has great potential to reduce costs for technology developers, improve the safety of marine operations, and to provide a best practice model for other marine energy sites across the globe."

"Combining JBA's innovative Marine Mission Planner with the Met Office's ensemble forecast data and EMEC's operational data and expertise will enable the development of a very exciting, and more importantly, useful piece of software that I am confident will prove indispensable in the future planning of marine activities across EMEC's test sites in Orkney and also around the world." said Mark Lawless, who is a Director of JBA Consulting.

Source: Dag Pike,

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