University of Plymouth installs new maritime simulator – Digital Ship

University of Plymouth installs new maritime simulator – Digital Ship

A new maritime simulation laboratory was installed on University of Plymouth.

The heart of the lab is Kongsberg’s K-Sim Dynamic Positioning Simulator, which will initially be used to simulate, test and optimize vessel operations throughout the lifecycle of floating offshore wind turbines (FLOW).

The simulator will also find application across the shipping and shipping sector, in areas such as ship design, marine autonomy, clean seas and maritime infrastructure.

The new facility will be able to accurately model any maritime geographic area in the world, including terrain data, tides and currents, and a variety of environmental conditions such as wind, sea state, precipitation and ice.

It will allow trained technicians to design new vehicles that appear realistic and have accurate hydrodynamic and aerodynamic functionality. It will also be programmed to allow maritime objects – including buoys, cables, anchors and docks – to interact with the simulated environment and each other.

A high level of visibility and integration means that numerical models can be verified, allowing staff to see the stresses and strains simulated objects are subjected to from varying weather and sea conditions.

The new simulator will also be linked to research and development at the COAST laboratory, providing scientists and industry with a virtual environment in which to test their innovations before they are deployed in the wave tanks.

dr Adan Lopez-Santander, Lecturer in Navigation and Maritime Studies and Head of the Maritime Simulation Laboratory, said: “This simulator and the software we have developed for it are exceptional. It gives us the ability to replicate in real time what is happening anywhere in the ocean and under any given conditions. It also allows us to monitor the stresses that individual structures are subjected to and how they affect the interaction of that structure with other devices. In sectors such as offshore renewable energy and ocean autonomy, the ability to conduct these tests in a virtual environment will be critical to existing and future research and development.”

The new simulation laboratory complements other facilities already used for research, teaching and engagement at the university. These include a ship simulator capable of recreating the environment of a seagoing vessel navigating the ocean and the Cyber-SHIP Lab, the UK’s only hardware-based research and development platform for maritime cybersecurity.

Professor Kevin Jones, Executive Dean of Science and Engineering at the University of Plymouth said: “This simulator is a real game changer in a number of critical and globally important sectors. We now have unrivaled ability to assess how individual devices and collective infrastructure will respond to unique ocean conditions. But beyond that, and in conjunction with our existing facilities, we have the ability to both predict and address a number of key challenges facing these sectors. This means that now more than ever we can play a crucial role in driving maritime and marine innovation.”

The Dynamic Positioning Simulator was acquired through the University’s involvement in the Cornwall FLOW Accelerator project. Led by Celtic Sea Power and supported by a £4.8m grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme, the project will support Cornwall’s ambition to play a leading role to take on the global floating offshore wind sector.

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