Researchers at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have designed and patented a floating platform for offshore wind turbines that can reduce energy costs to 12 euro cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) through a more efficient design and cheaper building materials.
Researchers Climent Molins and Alexis Campos, of the UPC’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, have developed a model of a floating structure for offshore wind turbines anchored at great sea depths.
By using concrete instead of the more expensive steel that has been used previously, the construction cost is reduced by 60%. In addition, concrete is more resistant in the marine environment, so the structure has fewer maintenance requirements and a life of about 50 years. The absence of joints in the platform increases its durability against the effects of wind and sea and avoids the damage that normally appears in transition areas.
Furthermore, the WindCrete includes a 5-megawatt (MW) wind turbine that can carry rotors of up to 15 MW with a minimum increase in the cost, making it far more economical.
The prototype was developed within the framework of the European project Alternative floating offshore substructure for offshore wind farms(AFOSP) , which is carried out in the framework of KIC-InnoEnergy in collaboration with Stuttgart Wind Energy at the University of Stuttgart and Gas Natural Fenosa. A preliminary design was carried out to ensure technical and economic feasibility.