The model of engineering, consulting and research group Gicon’s floating tension-leg platform passed its tests in the water basin at the Laboratory in Hydrodynamics, Energetics and Atmospheric Environment of Central Nantes (ECN) and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in the west of France.
Gicon’s floating offshore foundation has a square base and a rigid tension-leg platform tethered to the seabed to reduce vertical motion, with components made of a steel-reinforced concrete composite.
The platform has a modular design and is intended to be assembled in-port, Gicon said. The group is targeting a levelised cost of energy (LCOE) for the platform of less than €50/MWh, and believes it could support turbines with capacities of 6MW and above.
In ECN’s water basin, the platform withstood wind speeds of up to 15m/s and simulated wave heights of 11.4 metres and 12.9 metres — heights that respectively only occur statistically every 10 and 50 years, according to Gicon.
Scientists from the wind energy technology department at the University of Rostock (LWET) and engineers from Edelstahl und Umwelttechnik Stralsund (ESG) — both part of the Gicon group — will evaluate the data collected by the tests to further develop the platform.
"Just to see the model floating was a success," said Frank Adam, scientific director of the offshore wind research group and chair for wind energy technology at the University of Rostock.
"The tests made it clear: the platform is ready for the ocean."
Jochen Grossmann, founder of Gicon, added: "The greatest advantage of out tension-leg platform foundation is its stability.
"This means that the requirements for wind power plants with regard to platform motion are considerably lower than those of other systems."
ESG and LWET intend to continue their tests of the tension-leg platform in mid-2018, with the first large-scale platform "planned for the near future", the partners said.