Special Meeting

Important technical modifications optimize the floating offshore wind turbine and improve the applicability and the performance

Since April 1st, 2015 the French public sector research, innovation and training center IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) has been the coordinator of the INFLOW project (INdustrialization setup of a FLoating Offshore Wind turbine). The first Special Meeting with IFPEN as the leader took place at the IFPEN head office in Rueil-Malmaison on May 27th.

The main target of the INFLOW project is to optimize the existing onshore vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) produced by its predecessor project VERTIWIND. Therefore, the design is transmitted to floating offshore wind turbines in a way which optimizes the characteristics for high performance and reliability. Pertaining to the modifications which will improve the applicability and the performance of floating VAWT, a new grant agreement with the EU has been submitted and the term of the INFLOW project has been expected to be extended for two years until August 2017.

During the Special Meeting important technical modifications to optimize the floating offshore wind turbine were introduced and discussed by the project partners. First of all, Nenuphar as turbine developer has presented the design of the new floater which is now a spar. Therefore, a deeper site is required because of the spar length. A new test site for the floating offshore wind turbine has been identified: it is situated in the Mediterranean Sea, near Marseille, approximately 15 km south west off the Gulf of Fos coast, instead of the original test site which was located in the same area, but 5 km off the coast only.

The design of the turbine has also changed. Nenuphar has introduced the turbine design evolution and the final wind turbine which is optimised for the new prototype with a spar as floating support. Two straight composite blades instead of three helical blades now compose the new offshore wind turbine. Strongly motivated by this new promising design, the test phase with an onshore prototype with three vertical straight blades will be starting soon in the VERTIWIND project. The test phase for the offshore prototype with two vertical straight blades will be starting in parallel in the INFLOW project.