IDEOL Announces New Floating Platform Solution to Accelerate Deployment of Offshore Wind Farms (France)

IDEOL, a company specialized in the development of innovative solutions for the offshore wind market, announces it has developed and patented two new concepts enabling to accelerate the deployment of offshore wind farms.

– A floating platform on which to erect the wind turbines, with a construction costs divided by two in comparison with other existing solutions.

The offshore wind market has emerged by erecting onshore wind turbines on ground mounted foundations, restricting the installation to shallow waters only, today mainly in the North Sea. An alternative consists in mounting wind turbines on floating structures, allowing installation in deep sea and increasing the market potential to numerous countries.

The transposition of standard solutions developed in particular for the oil&gas industry to the floating offshore wind is not directly adapted. IDEOL has patented an innovative concept of floater, compatible with the existing offshore wind turbines, but designed specifically for mass production and the stability constraints of floating turbines.

IDEOL floater has many advantages in comparison with the other concepts currently under development: a construction cost divided by two; a breadth compatible with many shipyards; a shallow draught allowing its installation whatever the water depth; a carbon content divided by 7.

– A mobility solution to limit the wake losses in a wind farm and increase the power production by more than 10% per year.

An issue with wind farms, both onshore and offshore, is that the wake of the first rows of turbines negatively impacts the production of the rows behind. To reduce this impact, wind farm lay-out is usually optimized to reduce such wake losses in function of the wind rose. However, in particular on sites with scattered wind directions and large wind farms, this optimization is not perfect, unless widely extending the distance between turbines. The power production losses can exceed 15%, similarly to what is today measured in the large offshore wind farms of the North Sea.

The use of floating structure allows to displace the turbines with a limited increased cost. IDEOL has patented the mechanical solution to move the turbines and the software solution computing in real time the optimal lay-out in function of a set of parameters, in order to minimize the wake losses and thus maximize the power production of the farm.

IDEOL solutions are transforming the potential of the offshore wind market:

– With construction and installation costs divided by two, the energy cost starts to be economically competitive and close to the grid parity in the short term;

– The compact breadth of the floater makes it compatible with many shipyards, even for the mega turbines of 7-10 MW under development;

– The turbine erection and the heavy maintenance operations can be performed onshore, in almost all shipyards, without the potential delays due to the weather conditions and without the use of heavy and specific installation vessels, as those currently operated for the fixed offshore wind industry;

– The floating solution of IDEOL is competitive with ground mounted offshore wind turbines starting from 40m depth, depth of many of the wind farms currently developed in UK and Germany;

– Offshore wind farms can be developed in deep sea, opening new markets like the US West coasts, Japan and Mediterranean countries;

– The mobility solution allows to increase the energy production of a floating wind farm by 10% per year.

IDEOL is currently working on the installation of a first prototype of floating wind turbine in Europe by 2013.

Source: ideol-offshore, April 12, 2011

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