3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing opportunities in the Offshore Energy sector

29 October 2020 - Published by Stig Marthinsen

Through deep dives, the Periscope Network has identified the emerging 3D-printing and Additive Manufacturing sectors in the Offshore Energy market. Due to the early stage evolution of this new sector, a business case is required to develop better understanding of innovative materials and the processes required to additively manufacture offshore wind turbine blades, or those in the tidal sector for example. Additive manufacturing gives designers flexibility to realise concepts which aren’t currently achievable with standard materials and processes, but these initial technical approaches need to be better understood to enable a comparative case to be built for 3D printing and additive manufacturing alternatives. New processes may enable new technological advances for example the future construction of 20MW+ Offshore Wind Turbines with blades lengths in excess of 115m.   

The key purpose of the Periscope Network benchmarking study is to provide a steppingstone to address key fundamental questions that must be answered before new potential opportunities can be identified, from material selection to printing features. Some of these questions include:

  • What are the material deposition rates required?
  • What is the speed of the deposition apparatus on the equipment?
  • What types of equipment do we need to perform this?
  • Are we able to achieve a benchmarking study using standard off-the-shelf equipment? 
  • What are the key physical properties which affect shrinkage/flow rate/layer stabilisation etc?
  • Is the AM structure stable after production?
  • Is the technology potentially up-scalable from the benchtop?
  • What are the cost modelling approaches? What are the CAPEX and OPEX implications?
  • What is the optimal numbers of machines?
  • What types of detailed features of a blade can be downscaled and printed on a desktop printer for feasibility?

Following completion of the study, the Periscope Network will leverage this new evidence base to further engage with the European Blue economy, helping organisations and businesses to progress new market opportunities in the Offshore Energy Sector.  

Image © OREC