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How certification can contribute to establish new technologies in offshore wind

Costs reduction expectations like in tender systems as well as site-specific project requirements may motivate wind turbine and component manufacturers to develop innovative ideas, concepts and designs. Depending on their grade of innovation, these new components can represent or contribute to real technology developments, helping the industry to set significant milestones.

New technologies have all one thing in common: the need to show their suitability for a specific project and the market in general. Since in most cases probably no track records are available yet or only limited, an alternative way of providing evidence in terms of insurability, bankability and investability is required.

In this context, an independent certification can play an important role. Certification is not giving a direct statement to the business ability of an evaluated component, but it is attesting fundamental aspects of it, like safety, reliability and durability.

The technology qualification process

For unproven and innovative technologies, a special certification approach is needed. A well-established concept* uses a Technology Qualification.

The technology qualification is a process of providing the evidence that the new technology will function within specified limits with an acceptable level of confidence. In a first step the Certification Basis is assessed. This document sets the requirements and defines the expectations of the technology. Based on the information provided in the certification basis, a Technology Assessment to evaluate the component novelty and to identify key challenges and uncertainties in the system is carried out.

In the subsequent Risk Assessment, each possible failure mode in the technology and the resulting effect on safety, environment, operation and asset is evaluated. Finally, in a Certification Plan a ‘fit for purpose’ set of requirements based on the technology qualification is defined and the certification methods are selected.

Once these steps have been concluded successfully, a Statement affirming the feasibility of the technology is issued. Such statement can be the evidence mentioned above and shows how certification can contribute to the development, acceptance and establishment of new technologies.

*: Detailed information in DNV GL’s documents DNV-RP-A203:2013-07 Technology Qualification and DNVGL-SE-0441 Type and component certification of wind turbines.

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