The four initial innovative concepts selected as part of the project are at TRL 4 and can accommodate wind turbines up to 5MW. These platforms are among the most advanced floating substructure concepts currently being developed in Europe.
The Design basis (MS#1) provided the concept developers with the information required to upscale their floating platform concepts to support a 10MW wind turbine in three reference locations (Golfe de Fos, Gulf of Maine and West of Barra), representing different met-ocean conditions, and to identify the load cases and the wind turbine models for the design.
In the second technical milestone (Concepts designs ready), the concept developers used information from MS#1 to upscale their concepts to accommodate a 10MW wind turbine. In this ongoing upscaling/optimization process, radically different choices regarding structural design, mooring design, wind turbine controller and marine operations are required.
In parallel, the Design practice review (MS#6) an overview of current design practice, procedures, methodology, guidelines and standards with a gap analysis was carried out.
Evaluation methodology ready (MS#3) – has produced a LIFES50+ Overall Evaluation tool named “Floating Offshore Wind Assessment Tool (FOWAT)” to qualify the four concepts designs under an economic, environmental, risk and technical perspective. Of note is that floating wind energy is still at the early stages of its development and the associated experience is scarce. Therefore, the criteria and weighting factors that are applied in the evaluation tool are the agreed best estimates of the partners involved in the project and the tool development.
Phase 1 will be completed at a workshop in Barcelona from 8-10 of March 2017, where the Phase 1 qualification performed (MS#4) will present the evaluation of the four innovative concept designs and disclose the results. The overall concept rankings will be based on the scoring results obtained by the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Risk evaluation determined by FOWAT.
Phase Two – Concept optimisation
Phase 2 of the project officially begins in April 2017, when the two selected concepts will undergo further studies in order to accommodate a 10MW wind turbine. The innovative concepts will be further developed, technically and economically, to reach a higher technology readiness level. Industrialisation, manufacturability and environmental impacts will also be considered with relevant guidelines/recommended practices produced.
Experimental results from scale model testing in both ocean basin and wind tunnels will be used to for further development and verification the technologies using numerical simulation tools. The ultimate goals are to facilitate innovation, reduce risk, and reduce the LCOE and the uncertainties associated with its estimation.