Wind is one of the key sources of renewable energies within the European energy mix. However, the capacity for onshore wind farms is reaching its limits with only a few locations still available. As a result, offshore plants are becoming more and more important. It is particularly vital for the continued growth of the wind power industry to develop floating windfarms located out to sea in deep waters where huge wind resources can be harvested. However, the technology required for this is not yet fully developed. To help achieve this goal, the EU is providing four million euros over a period of three years for the FLOATECH Horizon 2020 project.
The goal of the project is to bring together the expertise of nine European partners from research and industry to develop the environmentally friendly technology needed for the windfarms as well as improve their cost efficiency. The project is coordinated by the Chair of Fluid Dynamics at TU Berlin.
“Wind energy is of decisive importance for the future goals of both environmental and energy policy. Europe leads the way in these technologies and wind energy now employs hundreds of thousands of people, making it an important sector of the European economy,” says Dr.-Ing Christian Navid Nayeri, project leader at TU Berlin and overall project coordinator.
The first stage of the project seeks to optimize the design of the turbines and increase their economic efficiency by developing QBlade-Ocean, an industrial-suited design tool, and testing its validity in experiments. QBlade- Ocean is able to simulate the complex interactions between the aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, mechanics, and control of floating offshore wind turbines with unprecedented efficiency and accuracy.
A further goal is to develop two innovative control techniques (Active Wave-based Feed-Forward Control and Active Wake Mixing) to make best use of waves and platform motions. This is intended to reduce wake effects caused by the turbulent tail of the wind in the slipstream of the blades, resulting in a net increase in the annual energy production of floating wind farms.
The researchers’ efforts to perfect the design of the turbines will also benefit biodiversity and the environment. The new wind farms will use less material and take up less space and also help protect the habitats of wild animals by avoiding the noise associated with anchoring pylons in the seabed.
“It is my belief that FLOATECH will contribute to the development of floating off-shore wind energy technology by creating a deeper knowledge base,” says Christian Nayeri. “The project will also train many engineers and equip them with state-of-the-art floating wind expertise. Involving relevant stakeholders in the project means our findings can then be introduced directly into the market. All in all, FLOATECH is a major opportunity to strengthen Europe’s leading position in wind energy technology and further consolidate TU Berlin as a center of expertise in this area.”
FLOATECH will be presented at the next WindEurope Electric City international conference for the off-shore wind industry in Copenhagen from 23 until 25 November 2021.