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Danish research to strengthen the design of floating wind turbines

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Posted October 30, 2018

Offshore wind turbines win more and more terrain on the sea all over the world. This is the case for example at the west coast of the USA, in Japan and in France.

Therefore, development and testing of floating wind turbines is being done in several parts of the world.

In the Norwegian Hywind concept, the wind turbines are placed on a very large floating buoy, which is anchored at a depth of 80 meters and sealed to the bottom of the sea. In another concept, the French Ideol, the floater is designed as a large barge on the water surface.

The world's second full-scale floating wind turbine (and first to be installed without the use of heavy-lift vessels), WindFloat, operating at rated capacity (2 MW) approximately 5 km offshore of Aguçadoura, Portugal. Image credit: Untrakdrover via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

The world’s second full-scale floating wind turbine (and first to be installed without the use of heavy-lift vessels), WindFloat, operating at rated capacity (2 MW) approximately 5 km offshore of Aguçadoura, Portugal. Image credit: Untrakdrover via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Several pilot facilities, for example in Scotland, have shown that the floating turbines are functioning just as well as the traditional offshore wind turbines that are firmly anchored at lower waters.

Now, Danish researchers and companies in the project FloatStep are taking the next step on the way to true industrialization of the floating wind turbines. They will optimize the tools and methods used to design and ship the floaters, which serve as ground for the turbines. The aim is amongst others to lower the costs and ease the production of the platforms and adapting the turbines to them.

Optimization of floaters
In the project FloatStep, DTU Wind Energy has gathered leading Danish researchers and companies working with floating wind turbines. The partners of the project will develop and test new and improved calculation models for designing the wind turbine floaters.

“The Danish wind sector was a pioneer for offshore wind energy and has all opportunities to take the lead on floating wind turbines as well. We will contribute to this in FloatStep,” says project manager Henrik Bredmose, who is professor at DTU Wind Energy.

Rune Rubak, who is responsible for Loads and Control in Offshore Technology at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy A/S had no doubts about joining FloatStep.

“We want to strengthen our collaboration with the involved partners and sustain our position as leader within the area. This project can contribute to that,” he explains.

The researchers are amongst other things going to develop new engineering models for the calculation of how very powerful waves affect the floater and the moorings holding it in place.

DTU has worked with floating wind turbines for years – in both industrial projects, EU projects and through model tests at DHI. The Danish TetraSpar floater developed by Stiesdal Offshore Technologies is included in FloatStep as an ongoing calculation example. Stiesdal contributes for example with data from the initial full-scale version of the floater.

“We look forward to validate and fine-tune our calculation models in a strong consortium counting both the industry and knowledge-intensive players. Through a combination of model tests, advanced calculations and analyses of full scale data, we will make it all the way around,” says Henrik Bredmose from DTU.

Source: DTU

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