RWE Wants to Expand Supply of Fiber Cables for Floating Offshore Wind

Braided covering machines on FibreMax's assembly line (FibreMax)
Braided covering machines on FibreMax's assembly line (FibreMax)

Published Apr 9, 2024 5:54 PM by The Maritime Executive


The German utility company RWE is working with Netherlands-based offshore mooring company FibreMax to develop synthetic mooring systems for floating wind production. The firms will work together on supply chain options and look for ways to reduce costs on ultra-deepwater and local floating offshore wind installations.

FibreMax believes that its products are the “strongest cables in the world.” According to the company, FibreMax mooring tendons offers much better strength, longer operational life and lower levels of maintenance compared to traditional steel moorings. The mooring system’s integrity is key to financial and operational viability of floating offshore wind.

“It is important to further develop and grow the supply chain for floating wind, in order to leverage its full potential. Working with forward-thinking and innovative companies like FibreMax helps unlock this potential,” said Chris Willow, Head of Floating Wind Development, RWE Offshore Wind.

Three years ago, FibreMax delivered prototypes of what it believes to be the strongest aramid cables in the world. The continuous-wound lines were tested to withstand a load of 1,700 tonnes. They were developed with offshore wind mooring and lifting applications in mind; at 85 percent lighter than an equivalent steel cable, fiber has advantages for tethered floating structures.

FibreFlex has a vision for a unique floating production factory for its cables, which could be towed to each installation site in order to enable localization (local labor employment) without building a shoreside facility. 

RWE wants to become a market leader in the emerging floating offshore wind market, which has substantially higher costs and new technical challenges when compared to bottom-fixed wind power. The company aims to have 1 GW of floating wind deployed or under construction by 2030 and at least 4 GW by 2035.

RWE has secured a commercial-scale floating offshore wind lease off the California coast, and is also preparing for floating wind auctions in France, Norway, Spain and the UK.