Modelling to keep offshore operations safe

Models created by engineers at the University of Western Australia are being used by industry to help keep offshore facilities safe.

The team has been conducting laboratory modelling to predict the performance of offshore facilities in the open ocean, including the impact of ship motions and forces due to ocean waves, wind and currents.

“Australia is very rich in ocean energy resources, for example natural gas, and offshore wave and wind energy,” says Dr Wenhua Zhao, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia (UWA).

“Offshore facilities make the exploration of ocean energy possible.”

The hydrodynamics team at UWA collaborated with international partners, testing their work in world-class wave basin facilities at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai.

The next step will be using field measurements to inform the models. In addition to offshore energy exploration, these technologies could be extended to protect marine life or aquaculture practices, Wenhua says.

Image: Dr Wenhua Zhao from UWA standing alongside his floating models. Credit: UWA 

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