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DemoSATH Installed Offshore to Begin Floating Wind Platform Tests

offshore floating wind turbine
DemoSATH was moved offshore to begin a two-year operational trial (Saitec photos)

Published Aug 18, 2023 6:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

Continuing the efforts to develop new technologies that can realize the potential for floating offshore wind energy, the DemoSATH project reports it has completed the installation of its 2MW innovative floating wind platform demonstrator in open seas. It is the first full-scale demonstrator to be deployed in the open waters off Spain. The goal of the project, which was scheduled to have a two-year operating phase, is to analyze the behavior of the platform and wind turbine under real operational and extreme conditions while collecting data and gaining knowledge from the construction, operation, and maintenance of the unit. 

The project is a partnership between Saitec Offshore Technologies, based in Basque Country, in northern Spain, German energy giant RWE, and Kansai Electric Power, which joined the project early in 2023. The demonstration is taking place at the test site Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP), which is approximately two miles offshore at a water depth of 278 feet. 

 

 

The platform uses the SATH technology (Swinging Around Twin Hull) which the companies promote as providing a cost advantage both in construction and maintenance. SATH Technology is based on a twin hull made of modularly prefabricated and subsequently braced concrete elements. The float uses a single point of mooring, similar to the technology used in the oil and gas sector for FPSOs. It reduces the environmental forces on the mooring lines and permits the platform to align itself weathervaning to the wind and wave direction. 

The companies highlight that most coastal areas in the world have depths greater than 200 feet, meaning that floating offshore wind is the best instrument to take advantage of the full potential to generate energy. They believe this technology will provide a key capability to cost-effectively deploy wind turbines in deep coastal waters.

 

 

The platform was assembled in the Port of Bilbao, Spain, and positioned by the Windstaller Alliance, using their anchor handling vessel, the Normand Sapphire, along with local tugboats, moving the platform the 11 miles to the test site in the Cantabrian Sea. It was connected by six pre-laid mooring lines to the structure’s single-point mooring turret. With a 2MW wind turbine, the structure is approximately 100 feet wide and approximately 220 feet long.

With the installation of the unit now complete, the DemoSATH project will enter a period of commissioning, which will be followed by the operational phase when electricity generation will commence.