A suction anchor for floating turbines
The Scottish Government has today announced the eight winners of a technology competition designed to catalyse innovation in the fast-evolving floating wind turbine industry.
A 3D printed anchor, a self-charging mooring line monitor, and a temporary crane for wind turbine maintenance were all among the ideas selected for a share of £1m of funding from the Holyrood government.
The competition, run by the Carbon Trust’s Floating Wind Joint Industry Project (Floating Wind JIP), was designed to address four key industry challenges which could hamper the commercialisation of floating wind technologies, such as monitoring and inspection of turbines, mooring systems, heavy lift maintenance, and towing to port maintenance.
One entry from Technology from Ideas and WFS Technologies is for a mooring line monitoring system which can identify stresses on the line and indicate when maintenance is needed. Another technology, from Dublin Offshore, helps reduce the load on the line and pivots to reduce the movement of floating platforms in the water. The 3D printed anchor technology, meanwhile, would be made with concrete and then sunk and embedded in the seabed through suction.
The Carbon Trust has said that floating wind is on the “precipice” of providing significant energy capacity in the UK with the winning ideas potentially integral to its advancement.
The sector is predicted to provide 12GW of capacity to the global energy market by 2030, driving £32bn of economic value in the process. Thetechnology could gain particular significance for places like Scotland where water depths often do not allow for the use of fixed-bottom turbines.
The Scottish Government plans to deliver up to 10GW of offshore wind, the majority of which will be in deeper waters suitable for floating wind.
Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said floating offshore wind would “undoubtedly play a huge role” in Scotland’s future energy system with the country’s deep waters making the technology particularly suited to its seas.
Congratulating those recognised by the competition, he added: “The innovative solutions developed by the competition winners will help reduce costs in the sector and could allow floating wind technology to reach commercial scale deployment earlier than previously anticipated and that could prove vital as Scotland and other coastal nations seek to head off the climate emergency.”
At the competition’s launch in September Jan Matthiesen, director of offshore wind at the Carbon Trust outlined the organisation’s excitement at the prospect of developing floating wind. “Offshore wind in Europe has delivered cost reduction at a scale that no one anticipated, cementing its role as a truly competitive energy generation technology,” he said. “It is now cheaper than building new conventional power plants.”
The new funding is the second boost to the floating wind sector in recent weeks, after the UK government launched a consultation that proposed reforming clean power contract auctions to make it easier to bring forward early stage floating wind projects.