A successful launch of the Masterclass Innovation Challenge

On the 24th of September the first round  -The Masterclass- of the Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge 2018 took place at the inspiring location of DOB-Academy in Delft. During the event 18 national as international participants from outside the offshore sector showed their innovative ideas and solutions for the 5 different challenges, formulated by SeaZip, TKI Wind op Zee and Gemini, creating a first step towards cross-sectoral collaborations and thinking outside the offshore wind box.

The value of Innovation Challenges

‘These kind of market Innovation Challenges are rare but needed.’ Gemini stated after the successful event. ‘We cannot always solve the problem ourselves, sometimes you need a clever external partner who can think in a different way, providing a technology which can cure or even prevent the issue. This Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge made clear that many small medium enterprises (SME’s), start-ups, as scientists are up for collaborating with the big offshore wind industry players! It can lead to surprisingly interesting collaborations.’

An additional benefit of the Masterclass was the development of new relations and collaborations between the participants themselves. During the Masterclass there was enough space and freedom to meet and greet with the other contestants.

The programme

Around 18 contestants were selected from the applications to participate at the Masterclass. The programme this Monday started with a general introduction of Offshore Wind Innovators by Martin Weissmann and Erwin Coolen and the three organisations which had brought in the five challenges:

  • SeaZip explained shortly their search for a new type of fender, as their current fenders are rapidly wearing and tearing. In the last two months they already had to replace eight fenders in total because the fender was deformed, tore or even exploded. New types of fenders had been tested as well, but did not seem to tackle the problem. One new type even only lasted for two days!
  • TKI Wind op Zee continued with their search for more insight in the development of birds around offshore windfarms. ‘We are already at our ecological maximum space on the North Sea.’ Which leads to many questions like ‘Which type of species have a high collision risk?’, ‘Whether and how birds can adjust and anticipate to the build structures of an offshore wind farm?’ and ‘How does the size, design and setup of windturbines influences the impact on birds?.’
  • Gemini is looking for several innovative idea’s and wants to look beyond their own horizon. For example their first challenge is focused on the spot analysis as on a regular basis oil and grease samples are taken and there are several risk in logistics, administration and time where things can go wrong. Their second challenge is where they are looking for a smart mobile bolting device as up to 1000 bolts in a turbine tower need to be torqued and bring risks as it is repetitive, time consuming and heavy work. Their last challenge is blade inspection at night, is this even possible? Or might a drone be an answer?

After the kick-off the programme continued in a smaller setting where the participants had the space to pitch their own solution for their challenger, in this case SeaZip, TKI Wind op Zee or Gemini. In these One-on-One meetings the participant had five minutes to present his or her idea and 10 minutes for questions and answers.

A short plenary session followed after the One-on-One meetings. The challengers were impressed by the high variety of idea’s and enjoyed meeting the many SME’s and start-ups. A good impression was made and it would be tough to make a decision of which idea will go to the next round of the Innovation Challenge! Who will go to the bootcamp on the 29th of October will be informed at the end of the week.

  • Bootcamp 29th October, 2018
  • Final event 12th December, 2018

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