Major Players Laying Crucial Stepping Stones to Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Growth

Leading certification provider DNV GL has launched a Joint Industry Project (JIP) which will see the development of design validation standards for floating offshore wind turbines. 

Engaging multiple stakeholders, the project — titled “Coupled Analysis of Floating Wind Turbines” — aims to develop a recommended practice for analysis and validation of floating offshore wind turbines; something which is viewed as a critical step on the route to commercialization of the technology. Uniquely, the project is the first of its kind in seeking validation methods which consider both wind turbine and floating platform systems, together with their interactions, within an integrated system.

“It’s the right moment for this development,” Luca Vita, project manager of the JIP and senior engineer at DNV GL — Energy, Renewables Certification, told Renewable Energy World. “Not only are there business needs, but since there’s now a good amount of industry experience surrounding floating wind technologies, we’re in a good position to develop a recommended practice.” 

According to Vita, many companies are arriving on an emerging floating market with demonstration projects.

“They’re bringing with them varying floating wind design solutions, and different industry background,” Vita said. “So what is needed is a widely recognized, unified approach providing practical methods to prepare analysis and validate design models in accordance with the requirements set out in established standards.” 

He said that the lack of a common agreement on the optimal approach to conduct analyses during the different stages of the design process adds potential risk factors and time delays in the project development and in the cost evaluation of new conceptual designs.

Alongside other industry parties, Vita believes filling this gap will accelerate the development of floating technology in terms of cost, efficiency and safety, as well as its utility-scale deployment. 

The project’s outcomes stand to benefit multiple stakeholders, as Vita explained: “A unified approach is good for designers, enabling them to work off the same assumptions and methodologies, as well as helping them avoid common pitfalls and over-designing structures. For investors, it’s important to know that results of cost analysis are based on common assumptions in design.”

In response to what Vita described as “a complex challenge [requiring] the integration of different technologies and disciplines,” the project will draw together 13 major players to contribute various areas of expertise on the development of the new recommended practice. It’s a collaboration that includes, Rambøll, EDF, the U.S National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Ideol. Together the partners represent an interdisciplinary blend of competences comprising engineering consultants, maritime research institutes, component manufacturers, and utilities.   

A frontrunner in the development of floating wind technologies, Ideol recently announced its floating wind technology as being selected by the French government for the development and construction of the Mediterranean’s first offshore wind farm — adding to a portfolio of demonstration projects sited in France, Japan and Taiwan. 

Commenting on their involvement in the JIP, Ideol CEO Paul de la Guérivière said: “We are happy to join this JIP and share our years of experience coupling multiple wind turbines with our patented floater. We have been convinced for a long time of the benefits of a common framework for the loads analysis of floating wind turbines and are confident that such efforts will lead to substantial gains in efficiency and cost. The recommended practice should strongly help the floating offshore wind industry and accelerate the development of commercial-scale floating wind farms.”

The recommended practice will provide a necessary complement to the Offshore Standard DNV-OS-J103 — a standard covering design of floating wind turbine structures that was also established through a DNV GL-led JIP and published in 2013.

Image credit: DNV GL

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William is a freelance reporter covering the development and happenings of renewable energy industries in Scandinavia. In addition to renewables, he blogs about various other fields of technology and science at .

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