Principle Power targets the rapidly maturing offshore wind sector by eliminating current deepwater limitations with an innovative solution. WindFloat is a floating support structure for offshore wind turbines with a simple, economic and patented design. The innovative features of the WindFloat dampen wave and turbine induced motion, enabling wind turbines to be sited in previously inaccessible locations where water depth exceeds 50m and wind resources are superior. Further, economic efficiency is maximized by reducing the need for offshore heavylift operations during final assembly deployment and commissioning. Multiple projects are in development for the installation of commercial Windfloat units in both European and US offshore wind farms.
Operational Experience/ WindFloat Prototype (WF1)
In October, 2011, Principle Power deployed a full-scale prototype WindFloat 5km off the coast of Aguçadoura, Portugal. To date the system has produced in excess of 9 GWh of elctricity delviered by sub-sea cable to the local grid. The structure was completly assembled and comissioned onshore before being towed some 400km along the Portuguese coast (from it's assembly facility near Setubal, Portugal). Additionally, certification (or class) was an area of focus in the prototype design as it will be a future requirement for commercial projects. Principle Power continues to operate the prototype system gaining priceless operaitonal data and experience for use in future WindFloat systems world-wide.
Please visit our Facebook Page for up to date photos of the prototype.
There are three advantages to the WindFloat foundation: first, its static and dynamic stability provides sufficiently low pitch performance enabling use of commercial offshore wind turbines; second, its design and size allow for onshore assembly; third, its shallow draft allows for depth independent siting and wet tow (fully assembled and commissioned) to sites not visible from shore. Primary markets are transitional (30-60m) and deep (>60m) water offshore wind sites in the US and Europe, previously inaccessible, and estimated to have greater than 2 terawatt (TW) of resource potential. Secondary markets include sites in Asia and other Oceanic countries.
The WindFloat is fitted with patented water entrapment (heave) plates at the base of each column. The plates improve the motion performance of the system significantly due to damping and entrained water effects. This stability performance allows for the use of existing commercial wind turbine technology. In addition, WindFloat's closed-loop hull trim system mitigates mean wind-induced thrust forces. This secondary system ensures optimal energy conversion efficiency following changes in wind velocity and direction.
The design of the WindFloat enables the structure to be fully assembled onshore and towed to its final location. All fabrication and qualification is completed at quayside in a controlled environment. Deployment cost savings are significant when compared with monopile/jacket support structures which require offshore heavylift operations.
The mooring system employs conventional components such as chain and polyester lines to minimize cost and complexity. Through the use of pre-laid drag embedded anchors, site preparation and impact is minimized.
|Power rating||≈ 3.0-10MW|
|Rotor diameter||≈ 120-170m|
|Turbine hub height||≈ 80-100 m|
|Hull Draft||< 20 m|
|Operational Water Depth||> 40 m|
|Conventional mooring components (4 lines)|