German offshore wind researchers have tested a 1:50 model of the Gicon SOF tension leg platform (TLP), and a wind turbine, at the Laboratory in Hydrodynamics, Energy and Atmospheric Environment of Central Nantes and CNRS (ECN).
The Gicon SOF is being developed by Gicon and Edelstahl und Umwelttechnik Stralsund GmbH (ESG), a Gicon Group company, in co-operation with the University of Rostock and the Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg.
The developers said that the first tank test was carried out successfully and ”demonstrated that the door is open for a floating tension leg platform with turbines from 6MW upwards, which enables a levelized cost of electricity of less than 50 Euro/MWh.”
Dr. Frank Adam, Scientific Director of the Offshore Wind Research Group at the Endowed Chair for Wind Energy Technology at the University of Rostock (LWET) (LWET), said: “Just to see the model floating was a success. Everything was watertight, the cable tensions on the buoyancy elements provided exactly the stability we calculated.”
Dr. Adam and his team supervised the tests in Nantes and collected the latest data together with engineers from ESG.
Gicon said that the floating foundation concept demonstrated that ”a levelized cost of electricity of less than 50 Euro/MWh is possible due to the use of cost-efficient, steel-reinforced concrete composite components and the modular design.”
The platform was subjected to various wind and wave tests. In ECN’s water basin, waves with significant wave heights of 11.4 and 12.9m were simulated, as such waves only occur statistically every 10 and 50 years, respectively. The data collected during the tests will be evaluated in the coming months in order to gain further insights into how to improve the platform.
ESG and LWET are currently planning to continue their tests with the third generation of TLPs in mid-2018. The first large-scale platform is planned for the near future, Gicon said.