EU-Funded Project Aims to Develop Cheaper, More Environmentally Friendly Floating Wind Farms

A consortium gathering 17 partners from eight European countries has started working on a project, dubbed Floatfarm, with a goal to lower the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of floating wind through solutions such as shared mooring and anchoring, and to reduce the impact of floating wind farms on marine wildlife.

Floatfarm consortium; Photo: Floatfarm

Funded by the European Commission with nearly EUR 6 million, the project was launched in January 2024 and will run for four years.

During this time, the consortium plans to work on significantly advancing the maturity of floating offshore wind technology by achieving cost reductions at all levels within the design and implementation phases. Floatfarm also aims to decrease the negative environmental impacts on marine life and enhance the public acceptability of floating wind farms.

One of the key actions for the Floatfarm consortium is to provide a future platform for the integration and testing of advanced technologies within a representative marine environment through the construction of a 1:7 scale 15 MW floating offshore wind turbine.

The project’s objective is to reduce the floating wind LCOE through several initiatives, including anticipated weight reductions of up to 80 per cent in RNA by implementing innovative generator concepts, potentially resulting in reduced usage of rare earth materials. Furthermore, enhancements in floating wind turbine design are expected to augment energy capture, particularly in deepwater locations, with projections suggesting a potential increase of up to 20 per cent in annual energy production under specific wind speed conditions, according to Floatfarm’s website.

The Floatfarm project seeks to demonstrate, among other things, the feasibility and advantages of shared mooring and anchoring concepts for floating wind turbines, including potential reductions in mooring system installation costs by 26 per cent through the adoption of shared mooring lines and anchors.

The consortium will also perform comprehensive assessments of the environmental impact of floating offshore wind technology, including marine noise pollution and ecosystem functioning, through advanced acoustic modelling and ecosystem models. The project will also evaluate the social perception and acceptability of new floating wind technologies through a review of deliberative processes and practices in EU countries within offshore renewable energy sectors.

On 24 June, marine renewable energy specialist Innosea, part of OWC, announced that it joined the Floatfarm consortium.

“As floating wind reaches new levels of maturity, Floatfarm represents the next chapter for the technology – bringing together leading companies to explore new ways to enhance energy production and drive cost savings in the design and implementation stages of floating wind. Both will accelerate technology adoption, which is crucial to fulfil climate goals,” said Jean-Christophe Gilloteaux, head of R&D at Innosea.

Floatfarm, which builds upon the Floatech project, which ended in December 2023 and was also funded by the EU, is coordinated by Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin). Besides TU Berlin and Innosea, the consortium includes the University of Florence, Ecole Centrale de Nantes (ECN), the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Ghent University, Technical University of Denmark (DTU),  the Italian National Research Council (CNR), Saipem, Sowento, Next Ocean, SeaPower, blueOASIS, France Energies Marines, Hagnesia Wind, BW Ideol, and Euronovia.


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