Under the guidelines of AFOSP, Climent Molins and Alexis Campos of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain, present Windcrete, a floating cylindrical base that has a concrete, rather than steel, structure. They claim concrete improves weatherability and cut costs by half when compared to the steel design used in the Hywind floating turbine. The team Windcrete has been patented, and the team is in the process of commercializing it for use in future wind farms.
With the concrete design, the UPC team expects to reduce the price of construction by 60% and deliver a service life of 50 years with minimal maintenance. After testing the prototype in the lab, they say that the low-maintenance, uniform design will reduce energy costs to 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.
If cost reduction is possible for floating wind farms, that could open the door to a number of benefits. For example, floating turbines are not limited by ocean depth, so they can be located further out to sea, where winds tend to be stronger. They will also lower material costs relegated to securing the turbine to the ocean floor.
Source: Machine Design