BlueSATH floater capsized off Spain

In: Windfarms
Saitec Offshore Technologies' (Saitec) BlueSATH floating wind platform has capsized off the coast of Santander, Spain. During storm Epsilon, the prototype was subject to waves up to 10 metres in height.

The prototype was put into commission this summer, and was slated to be in operation for 12 months, after which it would have been decommissioned. The prototype aimed to test a 1:6 scaled prototype of a 10 MW wind turbine using SATH floating (Swinging Around Twin Hull) technology in real sea environment, typically 3 metre wave heights for this region. Prior to offshore deployments, several testing campaigns were carried out with scaled models.

SATH technology is based on a twin hull made of modularly prefabricated and subsequently braced concrete elements. The float is designed to align itself around a Single Mooring Point, according to the wind and wave direction.

According to Saitec, the removal of the platform and transport to the Port of Santander was already planned for the coming weeks, since the hydrodynamic trials were completed and considering that the metocean conditions were not representative anymore when scaled and wave condition exceeded design scenarios.

Before the planned decommissioning Odette and Alex storms arrived at the area, registering waves up to 8 metres equivalent to 48 metres in height at full scale (F.S.), which the reduced model managed to resist without problems.

With little time to react Epsilon Hurricane touched land impeding platform removal operation. During the new storm Epsilon, waves reached heights close to 10 metres at the installation site (i.e.  equivalent to 60m F.S.) well above the forecasted and the historically registered. These waves ended up capsizing the scaled model. The device has already been retrieved and transported to the shipyard.

In a statement Saitec outlined: "the results obtained during the deployment have proven an excellent behavior in harsh design scenarios which even exceeded extreme events to be encountered in offshore sites for wind farms. Consequently, Saitec Offshore feels even more confident of the suitability of SATH technology and continues to push all its projects and opportunities forward."

BlueSATH tests conclusions are to be applied to the following full-scale model DemoSATH (2 MW), a project that has the support of RWE Renewables and that will be installed in the Basque Platform for Marine Energies (BIMEP) in Armintza in 2021.

For more information on floating offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.

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