Gicon and the Endowed Chair of Wind Energy Technology at the University of Rostock (LWET) have conducted tank tests of the third generation Gicon SOF floating offshore foundation with focus on the transport and installation process.
The tests of a 1:50 scale model took place at the SSPA Maritime Dynamics Laboratory in Gothenburg, Sweden, and included the towing of the SOF using the buoyancy of the gravity anchor plate, the lowering of the gravity anchor plate and the pulling down of the foundation.
To fully test both the towing and the installation processes, the team needed an appropriately long test tank with the necessary equipment, which was available in Gothenburg, Gicon said.
The model was equipped with a gravity anchor plate and electric motors so that the dynamic behavior during the one-step installation, i.e. the lowering of the gravity anchor plate and the pulling down of the SOF could be investigated.
During the trials, data on motion behavior and occurring forces during the transport and installation process were recorded to compare them with simulations.
"In the coming months, we will evaluate all test results and compare them with the simulations. The video material alone comprises several hours and dozens of gigabytes of data. Based on this evaluation, we will optimize the transport and installation routines and develop further scenarios that will be tested in future model tests," said Dr. Frank Adam, Chief Scientist of the LWET offshore wind research group.
A same-scale model of the Gicon SOF tension leg platform (TLP), with a wind turbine, was proven successful during tests in Nantes, France, in November 2017 under extreme loads with significant wave heights of up to 12.9m, Gicon said.
According to the German company, the model's cost-effective on-site installation, steel-concrete composite components and modular assembly at portside streamlines the supply chain and reduces the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCoE) to below EUR 50 per MWh.
"These tests are another milestone on the path to a floating Tension Leg Platform (TLP) with turbines of 6 MW or larger which leads to Levelized Costs of Energy (LCOE) of less than 50 € / MWh," said GICON founder Prof. Jochen Großmann.
"After the 3rd generation GICON® SOF passed first wind and wave tests last year, we were able to confirm the towing process and the new anchoring process in Gothenburg. Both features combined are the core of the successful operation of the SOF."