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Aiming for 20 MW offshore wind turbines

The European Union’s High Power, High Reliability Offshore Wind Technology (HiPRWind) project is looking into the development of up to 20 MW offshore wind turbines.

By Renewable Energy Focus staff

Over the next five years, the HiPRWind project hopes to lay the foundations for delivery of a complete, fully functional offshore wind-turbine capable of generating 10-20 MW.

Test platform

“In order to test the latest research results, we are constructing a 1 MW test platform in the Bay of Biscay off the north of Spain,” says Matthias Hofmann at SINTEF Energy Research, which is involved with the project.

HiPRWind:

  • Total budget: €19.8 million
  • Partners: 19 European partners including ABB, Technip, Idesa, Wölfel, SINTEF and NTNU
  • Project Manager: Fraunhofer Gesellschaft
  • Project duration: 2010-2015

“This will be ready in three years and will help us to close the energy gap and take the step from small-scale testing to a full-scale offshore installation.”

A floating deepwater wind-turbine needs to be designed differently from its equivalent on land. Challenges will emerge in the design of the wind turbine blades and control systems, SINTEF says.

“It is not enough to simply have wind turbines offshore; operating and maintaining them will involve challenges, such as simply reaching them. When seas are high, for example, it will be difficult to get ‘on board’ for trouble-shooting and maintenance,” adds SINTEF’s Harald Svendsen.

Connections

The project is also looking at how the units of a floating offshore wind farm far out to sea can be interconnected, and connected to the electricity grid ashore.

SINTEF’s role

Scientists from SINTEF will work on two of the offshore wind project’s 10 work-packages.

Grid connection:

The challenges here are about minimising energy losses and meeting strict quality requirements regarding the supply of power. This work-package will be a combination of desk studies and small-scale experiments in SINTEF/NTNU’s own renewables laboratory.

Roadmap:

The other work-package deals with assembling all the information that is generated by the project and designing a roadmap based on this. For example, what are the individual steps involved in building a 10 MW floating wind-turbine? What market and logistics challenges are likely to emerge? This activity will also involve all the companies that are members of the project, and will gather information through workshops and meetings.

 

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