Consortium to develop shallow-water mooring solutions for floating wind

In: Windfarms
An international consortium led by Principle Power and composed of National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL, USA), Aker Solutions (Aker, Norway/USA) and American Bureau of Shipping (ABS, USA) and Technology From Ideas (TfI, Ireland), has been awarded a contract by the US Government’s National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium “NOWRDC” for a project entitled “Demonstration of Shallow-Water Mooring Components for Floating Offshore Wind Turbines (ShallowFloat).”
ShallowFloat aims to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of soft mooring designs for floating offshore wind turbines by incorporating innovative load reducing polymer spring in the mooring lines. The spring technology developed by TfI, has the potential to reduce peak loads by more than 50%, enabling reduction in both size and required holding capacity of anchors. As such, these polymer springs have could reduce installation vessel requirements, enabling reductions in cost for FOWT station-keeping systems in shallow waters. 
Principle Power has been active in the design, procurement, and installation of floating offshore wind through its WindFloat technology. It designed mooring systems for water depths as low as 48m with simple components that are inexpensive to install. In shallower water, however, mooring requirements tend to increase exponentially. Principle Power stated that incorporating TfI’s polymer spring into its mooring system design framework has the potential to simplify deployment in challenging shallow water sites. 

“As we see countries like Ireland target increasing volumes of offshore wind, there is a real opportunity to capture first mover advantages for both the country and the supply chain” said Cian Conroy Senior Business Development Manager – Europe, Principle Power Inc. “We are excited to be working with TfI. As we look to the growth of the floating offshore wind sector, deployment in shallow waters will play a major role in meeting targets and, for this, innovation in the mooring space will be key” he added. 

TfI is an Irish company developing solutions for the emerging floating wind sector. Its polymer spring mooring technology allows customers to change the mooring system response, optimising the behaviour of the system in ways not possible with conventional steel or fibre technology. This drives down loads and fatigue, enables deployments in challenging environments. The technology is in the process of certification by class societies, making it one of the most advanced technologies in the industry.

Speaking about the award TfI CEO Noel Halloran stated “we are delighted that Principle Power, the market leader in floating offshore wind technology, is proposing Tfi technology to enable shallow mooring of their platforms. It is a very important recognition for the company and its team of engineers who have been working intensively to get the technology to this point”.

“We will be challenging the 'steel thinkers’ in this industry to reimagine their mooring designs and take advantage of the opportunities we offer for load reduction” added Mr. Halloran.

Over the next 18 months, TfI will be demonstrating its technology in Scotland, France and now the USA.

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