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Research and innovation

Sofia Offshore Wind Farm has a Memorandum of Understanding with Teesside University, which is an agreement to cooperate on building capabilities to equip students for careers in the rapidly growing offshore wind sector.


Sofia set a live research topic, “How long does it take an operating offshore wind farm to payback the CO2 that is used during manufacture and installation and it compares with C02 outputs from alternatives including fossil fuel power plants and the UK generation mix?”


Sofia took on two Teesside University interns to work on the live project, as part of their advanced practice part of their course. The two interns, Siti Hamzah and Tafazul Mohammed completed the 13-week real-world internship to improve their job prospects and give them a taste of the world of work.


Siti Hamzah, an MSc Electrical Power and Energy Systems graduate developed a spreadsheet tool to collate data, including weight, length and mass of materials, from all the main components. This included turbines, offshore converter platform, cables, onshore converter station, as well as the modelling of installation works including transport and vessels, to understand the contribution of the construction of Sofia to atmospheric CO2.

Tafazul Mohammed, a BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering graduate refined and developed the spreadsheet further, inputting real life data before comparing the CO2 with the estimated energy generation over the project lifetime, which indicated the CO2 per gigawatt hour of electricity generated. He then set this against alternative generation types to see how long it takes before Sofia becomes carbon neutral compared to other forms of energy generation.

After their internships, the students come back and spend the next semester on their research project. More often than not this spins off from their internship and again supports their offering to the workplace. Comparing the research projects of the students who have done an internship with those that have not, it is clear that the experience has given them professional skills and confidence that the others lack. They are much more ready to work in a graduate role and can take on more complex tasks and deliver them on time.”

Dr Gill Lacey, Senior Lecturer in Electrical Engineering and Course Leader for MSc Power and Energy,

I have had a great experience and now have a much better knowledge of offshore wind farms - a very interesting topic to work on. Carbon calculation was new to me and I can now far better relate my academic knowledge to the practical area of how wind farm components are manufactured and installed.

I have learned a lot from the support of TU and Sofia, the challenging area has been how to perform all the calculations, but I have had good support on this.”

Tafazul Mohammed, BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering graduate

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