Ten partners from six European countries gathered in Paris on June 19 to kick-off a research project on offshore wind energy, featuring a world premiere: The INFLOW (INdustrialization setup of a FLoating Offshore Wind turbine) demo project, directed by French engineering company Technip, will see the deployment of a novel design commercial size floating vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) in the Mediterranean Sea near Marseille.
Together with a similar turbine prototype to be installed in the course of the predecessor project VERTIWIND, the world’s first offshore test site with multiple floating wind turbines will be established. With a high stability through the low centre of gravity and high reliability due to the missing yaw and pitch controls and gear box, VAWTs are a very promising solution for converting wind energy offshore.
“This project represents a major step toward the commercialization of floating offshore units! INFLOW should break down the barrier of water depth limitation and open a wide new horizon for offshore wind energy,” said project manager Migel Harismendy from Technip.
Funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme and running for four years, the main target of INFLOW is to optimize the existing VAWT prototype and to manage all aspects required to initiate a viable industrialisation phase, in order to launch a 26 MW wind farm and to develop even larger farms in the future.
Press release, September 6, 2012; Image: inflow-fp7