With the rapid development of offshore wind industry, the growth of installed capacity and the complexity of offshore, deep-water environment requires more efficient, automated, and integrated digital technologies to maximize the return. Building Information Modeling (BIM) has made remarkable research progress in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry. We extend its application to offshore wind farms for their life cycle management to realize the structural optimization design, construction process simulation, operation and maintenance data monitoring and disassembly, etc. Our research begins with the review of the research situation of each stage in the life cycle of offshore wind farms to conclude the key technologies and obstacles. Then the successful application outcomes and potential value of BIM are synthesized to analyze its necessities, possibilities and feasibilities for the application in offshore wind farms. Finally, the application framework of BIM for offshore wind farms is established to facilitate the life cycle management, including the aspects of schedule, cost, quality and disaster risk assessment based on integrated data from digital models, databases, structures, marine environments and geographic information systems. This paper systematically analyzes the value of BIM technology in the life cycle management of offshore wind farms, which is of great significance to expand the application of BIM in the field of marine engineering and also behaves as the fundamental research for the next generation of digital and smart sustainable offshore wind farms.
According to the statistical data of Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the global offshore wind power installed capacity added up to 18814 MW by 2017 (GWEC, 2018). The 13th Five-Year Plan for China's Energy Development gave a planning of reaching 5 million kilowatts of offshore wind power grid-connected installed capacity by 2020 (National Energy Administration, 2016). The data show its prosperous development and expectation. Offshore wind power generation presents the trend of larger wind turbines and deeper marine environment.