A major international collaborative project involving 12 partners from eight countries and worth €7.3million is set to drive forward development of the next generation of floating wind substructures.
The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult is a key partner in the European Horizon2020-funded programme LIFES50+. Led by Norway’s MARINTEK, the project will run for 40 months and will focus on proving the innovative technology that is being developed for floating substructures for 10MW wind turbines at water depths greater than 50m.
The first step in the project will be to optimize and qualify, by early 2017, two floating substructures concepts for 10MW turbines. The consortium partners have chosen to focus on large wind turbines as these are seen as key to reducing the cost of energy generated from offshore renewables. The chosen concepts will be taken from an existing list of four and the selection will be made based on technical, economic, and industrial criteria. This methodology will be supported by existing numerical tools, and targeted development and experimental work.
ORE Catapult will lead on the uncertainty and risk management work package of the project, evaluating the risks associated with the substructures being developed and designing and developing a risk assessment methodology for floating substructures.
Ultimately, the project will facilitate innovation and competition in the industry, reduce risks, and therefore contribute to a lower levelised cost of energy. Significant findings from the project will be disseminated publicly and will be of interest to developers, designers, manufacturers and decision makers.
Ignacio Marti, ORE Catapult Innovation & Research Director, said: “We are delighted to be key partners in this international collaboration, the largest project of its kind in the world focusing on floating wind substructures.
“Over the years, offshore wind farms have moved further from shore and into deeper water as developers look to exploit global offshore wind resources. The global potential market for floating foundation solutions is significant as there is a clear need to develop new technologies that meet the needs of deeper water sites, where bottom-fixed solutions are no longer commercially viable.
“Our involvement in this ground-breaking project will help us to realise our ambition to position the UK as a leader in the global floating wind market and build on its market-leading position in offshore wind.”
 Project partners are Marintek, Politechnico de Milano, DTU, Ramboll, ORE Catapult, Universität Stuttgart, Iberdrola I&C, Ideol, DNV GL, Tecnalia, Insitut de Recerca en Energia Catalunya, Olav Olsen.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union
Horizon2020 programme under the agreement H2020-LCE-2014-1-640741.