Italian offshore specialist Saipem and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) have signed an agreement to collaborate on the HEXAFLOAT floating wind foundation project.
The HEXAFLOAT floating pendulum concept, patented by Saipem, is currently undergoing validation.
The CNR research project will include the evaluation of the concept via the development of appropriate numerical models, a model test at the INM (Istituto di Ingegneria del Mare) indoor basin, fabrication and installation of a prototype in the waters of a sea laboratory in front of Naples managed by both CNR-INM and the Engineering Department of Università degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”.
The first prototype of the HEXAFLOAT floating foundation will touch the waters in the spring of 2021, Saipem said.
“This agreement represents the start of a synergy between the biggest Italian research centre and Saipem, leading to an advancement in the TRL (Technology Readiness Level) of our floating foundation and at the same time to an improvement of the design criteria which are fundamentals to accelerate the cost reduction curve,” Mauro Piasere, Digital and Innovation director and COO of Saipem XSIGHT division, said.
”Structure cost and technological reliability are indeed essential to push the market towards technologies that are not at industrial level yet. In future, we foresee ever increasing applications of floating wind foundations, that could be installed in those marine areas where the water is deeper like Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Japan, US Western Coast, Norway, and this agreement will help us in getting ready for that.”
The research project is funded by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) through the “Ricerca di Sistema Elettrico” fund.
“The CNR-Saipem agreement marks a first significant objective of the scientific activity carried out in the System Research project,” said Emilio Fortunato Campana, director of the Engineering Department, ICT and technologies for energy and transport of the National Research Council (Diitet-Cnr).
”The synergy between the largest national player in floating wind technology and the main research body in the marine renewable sector is a virtuous example which will favor a substantial step forward for our country in knowledge and innovation for technologies in the marine renewable sector, both for the Mediterranean and for other European and international marine environments.”
According to Saipem, The HEXAFLOAT foundation is designed specifically for future large-scale offshore wind turbines with a capacity of 10 MW and beyond.
Saipem will test a full-scale prototype HEXAFLOAT foundation at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) offshore Ireland in 2022 as part of the Accelerating Market Uptake of Floating Offshore Wind Technology (AFLOWT) project.