txt watereye


O&m tools integrating accurate structural health in offshore energy


Call: H2020-LC-SC3-2019-RES-TwoStages
Topic: LC-SC3-RES-14-2019: Optimising manufacturing and system operation
EU Grant: ~4.7 M€
Project start: 2019-11-01
Project End: 2022-10-31


  • Large Scale Enterprise:

    • COBRA (Spain)

  • Small and Medium Enterprise

    • Semantic Web Company (Austria)

    • Delft Dynamics (Netherlands)

  • Research and Development Centres

    • Flanders Make (Belgium)

    • Ceit-IK4 (Spain)

    • PLOCAN (Spain)

    • Sintef Industry (Norway)

    • Sintef Energy Research (Norway)

  • University

    • TU Delft (Netherlands)


Operation & Maintenance (O&M) costs are the main cost driver in offshore energy due to the difficult accessibility to the WTs, but also due to the environmental conditions. O&M costs can account for up to 30% of the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) and sensing & monitoring systems could help attain the expected fall to 70 EUR/MWh by 2030.

The highest criticality (in €/kWh) in offshore wind is caused by structural failure, that mainly occurs due to corrosion processes non-adequately neither predicted nor monitored. For that reason, it is crucial to implement new monitoring, diagnosis, prognosis and control tools into the offshore wind farms (WFs) to enable Wind Farm Operators (WFOs) to take predictive smart O&M decisions fully considering structural components real and future status.

WATEREYE will improve the operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms. It will increase the efficiency of the whole system and reduce operation and maintenance costs. WATEREYE is focused on improving the integral management of the critical WT structure failure owing to its most critical aggression, namely corrosion. To this end, WATEREYE will improve the whole process of sensing, monitoring, smart data analysis and control of such structures providing Wind Farm Operators with highly accurate, quick and smart decision-making capabilities. Research and development efforts are focused on sensing & monitoring systems, wind turbine diagnosis and prognosis and a global wind farm O&M control. This will result in technology to assess integral accurate and reliable structural health data and the corresponding control strategies for wind farm operation and maintenance level.

WATEREYE aims to increase global offshore wind energy conversion efficiency by increasing operation/conversion time. At the same time, it aims at reducing the operation and maintenance costs thanks to the development of an integrated solution of sensing, monitoring, diagnosis and prognosis. This will reduce structural damage, which are most critical in terms of costs, energy and time.

The most critical downtimes in offshore WTs are caused by failures of structural components, caused by corrosion at tower including the “tower-platform” junction and the entire splash-zone. WATEREYE will develop corrosion monitoring and RUL (Remaining Useful Life-time) forecasting for offshore WTs´ structures.

WATEREYE will develop technologies for monitoring, data analytics, modelling, and diagnosis and for WT and WF O&M advanced control strategies. These will contribute to significant OPEX reduction and improve the efficiency and profitability of offshore energy resources.

WATEREYE will remove current technological barriers in offshore wind structural health in terms of: sensing, monitoring, diagnosis and prognosis and WT and WF control tools.

WATEREYE aims to develop an integral solution that will allow WFOs to accurately predict the need for future maintenance strategy to reduce O&M costs and to increase the offshore wind annual energy production. To this end, WATEREYE will:

  1. develop a monitoring system capable of remotely estimating the corrosion level in exact WT locations (tower, splash-zone, tower-platform junction) as a supporting tool for predictive maintenance to considerably reduce the O&M costs and reduce the risk for operation failures;

    1. New Ultrasound corrosion sensors (ad-hoc, low-cost, high accuracy, fast-response, non-invasive) will be developed,

    2. as well as high-efficient and robust wireless communications specifically conceived for offshore WTs hard communicating environment;

    3. Besides, a novel drone-based mobile platform to move one mobile sensor inside the WT tower will be developed.

  2. Develop the acquisition, storage and access layer for data by analysing the data consumption patterns

  3. Develop diagnosis, prognosis and decision support system as a supporting tool for predictive operation & maintenance to considerably reduce the O&M costs and reduce the risk for operation failures

  4. Develop wind turbine and windfarm-level control algorithms with accurate consideration of the structural health, giving operators the freedom to choose the best balance between energy production, protective control, and predictive operation & maintenance.

WATEREYE's integral solution will allow Wind Farm Operators (WFOs) to accurately predict the need for future operation & maintenance strategy to reduce O&M costs and to increase the offshore wind annual energy production.

To this end, a well-balanced and complementary consortium has been made, composed by 9 of 5 different European countries and compiling all the skills needed:

  • Sensors design; Communications;

  • Mobile platform to acquire data

  • Data acquisition, storage and access

  • Control & fault detection strategies

  • Wind farm (WF) control, maintenance scheduling and Virtual Power Plants

  • Corrosion expert (Lab Test; models)

  • Model-based data analytics Predictive O&M

  • Wind Farm Engineering, Procurement, Construction & Installation (EPCI); and Wind Farm Operation (WFO)

  • Scientific-Technical Ocean RTD and relevant testing infrastructure

The project will translate technologies from TRL3 to TRL5 with a total budget of 4.7 M€.

Ceit's role in the project

Apart from being the coordinator of the WATEREYE project, Ceit will be focused on important technical challenges for the project development. Ceit will design an unattended and low-cost corrosion monitoring system capable of monitoring large structures with high accuracy.

The smart corrosion monitoring system designed by Ceit must cover two fundamental areas: the splash zone and the atmospheric zone with the aim of monitoring mainly the corrosion of the outer side of the structure from the inner surface. The monitoring system will be inside the tower. In the case of the atmospheric zone, the proposed solution to cover large structures is based on a drone. Hence, the smart ultrasound system will be embedded into the drone to be capable to measure a high number of critical points per year. On the other hand, the solution for the splash zone will be based on a matrix of smart ultrasound sensors to measure the most critical points since this is a restricted area where the drone cannot operate. Thus, the key challenges related to the US sensors of the proposed solutions are:

  • Designing a high-accuracy, unattended, fast-response and non-invasive ultrasound smart sensor.

  • Characterizing the monitoring system to be flexible enough regarding the type of corrosion and the target thickness.

  • Applying compensation techniques for the temperature effect, the large movements of the drone, the effect of the coatings and the application of the ultrasonic coupler at the transducer.

Furthermore, Ceit is responsible for the wireless communications inside the tower to be able to transmit the corrosion measures from the US systems to the WATEREYE Computer. The key challenge of the wireless link designed by Ceit is to enhance the calibration methods and communications protocols of the proposed radio frequency technologies with the aim of transmitting the measures wirelessly with high reliability under the harsh conditions of the offshore wind turbines. The proposed radio technology based on IR-UWB will be also used to enhance the drone positioning and combining with other technologies achieve the required drone positioning accuracy and reliability.

The WATEREYE solution will be proved in the offshore platform of PLOCAN as a relevant environment to demonstrate the functionality of the WATEREYE prototype mainly the physical systems: ultrasound measures and corrosion detection, drone positioning and wireless communications.



contacto ainhoa


Ainhoa Cortés

Ainhoa Cortés

Email: acortes@ceit.es