£1.6m North Sea simulator unveiled in Scotland in bid to make operations safer

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A NORTH Sea simulator was unveiled in Scotland today in a bid to make working in the cold and dangerous waters safer and more efficient.

The £1.6m simulation suite is aimed at decommissioning and renewable energy projects in the North Sea.

It will give workers a chance to practice their trade in a safe environment before having to do the job for real in the unforgiving grey wastes of the North Sea.

The simulation suite is located at the National Decommissioning Centre (NDC), a global research and development hub based in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire.

The simulator provides a safe environment in which to practise operations in one of the world’s most dangerous seas

It can undertake detailed marine technology and operational simulations as well as complex data modelling and visualisation.

These advanced capabilities provide a safe, virtual environment where users can simulate offshore and subsea operations in real time.

These include the removal or installation of energy infrastructure, deploying a range of equipment and vessels to see which are best suited to the task and introducing challenging factors such as variable weather and tidal conditions.

The first funded project to utilise the simulator is assessing novel techniques for the installation of anchor systems for offshore floating wind turbines.  Working with local company Aubin, the project aims to deliver more cost-effective methods of anchor installation.

The center is a partnership between the University of Aberdeen and the Net Zero Technology Centre, who together with the Scottish and UK governments, provided the funds.

Professor George Boyne, Principal of the University of Aberdeen, said: “Along with our partners in the Net Zero Technology Centre we are committed to establishing the NDC as a as a global leader in research and development, building on this region’s strong track record in innovation in industry and the sciences.

“The arrival of this state-of-the art simulation suite is testament to that ambition, and to our commitment in promoting economic recovery for our region by working in partnership with industry on projects related to decommissioning and the energy transition.”

Myrtle Dawes, Solutions Centre Director at the Net Zero Technology Centre, said: “The simulator is an important addition to the National Decommissioning Centre and will be a valuable resource for industry to establish the viability of future decommissioning and energy transition projects through scenario planning and data science.”

Michael Matheson MSP (Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport) spoke to attendees via video message.

He said: “Decommissioning is a crucial part of our transition to becoming a net?zero economy and the Scottish Government remains committed to supporting the sector.

“By capitalising on our strengths in energy, natural capital, innovation and skills, we can position Scotland at the forefront of growing global markets across the energy system, including decommissioning.”