(OW) The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected nine floating wind foundation projects in Phase One of the FLoating Offshore Wind ReadINess (FLOWIN) Prize. Each project will receive USD 100,000 in funding and USD 75,000 in vouchers for technical support provided by DOE national laboratories.
The winners of the first phase of the FLOWIN Prize, a competition to tackle the floating wind energy industry’s supply chain challenges, are Aikido Technologies, Beridi USA, Aker Solutions and Principle Power, OCG-Wind (Ocergy), PelaStar, Technip Energies, Tetra Triple-One, VolturnUS+ (University of Maine), and WHEEL U.S.
“The winning teams all demonstrated designs that are realistic and represent progress toward wide-scale, domestic floating offshore wind energy manufacturing and deployment in the United States”, said Alejandro Moreno, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
“They help lay the foundation for a thriving domestic offshore wind energy industry, which can provide clean, renewable energy to millions of American households, support good paying jobs, and revitalize port communities”.
The Winning Floating Wind Platform Projects
As reported a few days ago, Aikido Technologies, a newly established company in San Francisco, California, is developing a platform that enables horizontal transport of floating wind turbines from ports to their offshore sites and upending them once in position at their designated locations.
The company, which aims to address the challenge of port height restrictions with its technology, plans to launch a 2 MW demonstration project next year and another using more powerful wind turbines in 2026/2027.
Beridi USA, based in Spanish Fork, Utah, is developing a concrete-based floating platform called Triwind. The platform uses damping pools and buoyancy chambers to provide superior stability, limiting fatigue loading, and can be mass-manufactured at existing seaports to provide cost savings, according to DOE.
Principle Power and Aker Solutions won the FLOWIN Prize for their FloatHOME project which aims to leverage the fourth-generation, industrialised WindFloat® design to evaluate and compare deployment options, considering the development of advanced, purpose-built fabrication facilities and infrastructure.
The floating wind foundation, developed by Principle Power, headquartered in Emeryville in California, has already been installed at the WindFloat Atlantic floating wind farm in Portugal which has been running for two years now.
The primary goal of FloatHOME is to develop a vision and implementation plan for the fabrication of the WindFloat® technology in the US in purpose-built, low-carbon, advanced manufacturing, Principle Power and Aker Solutions said.
OCG-Wind Full Cycle is a project by Ocergy that is being developed in Oakland, California. The company, one of whose shareholders is oil and gas major Chevron, has been developing what is said to be a floating wind solution for serial production with today’s supply chain and port infrastructures.
Ocergy’s platform was selected for the 100 MW Salamander floating wind project in Scotland last year.
According to the company, its OCG-Wind platform is designed specifically for the next generation of very large turbines and supports the latest generation of turbines agnostically. The OCG-Wind Full Cycle project is focused on prefabricating necessary parts so that the platform could be quickly assembled near the site of an offshore wind farm.
The lightweight four-column semi-submersible floating platform design uses simple, slender components engineered for any wind turbine, making it customizable and ready for large-scale deployment, according to DOE.
The floating wind foundation developed by PelaStar, based in Seattle, Washington, is also a lightweight platform. The lightweight, tension-leg platform (TLP) design minimises environmental impacts while maintaining cost savings as well as manufacturing and installation flexibility, DOE writes.
The TLP platform was developed by Glosten which, together with SENSEWind and Subsea Micropiles and six delivery partners won a grant in the UK last year to design and install a 2 MW floating wind turbine demonstrator offshore Scotland.
The Houston, Texas, team of the French company Technip Energies was awarded DOE funding for its floater technology INO15™, a three-column semi-submersible floater suited for large series production, according to the developer.
The INO15™ floating wind platform can be assembled at ports at low cost and is robust enough to withstand harsh operating environments, Technip Energies says.
In 2022, the company was selected by Italian developer Renexia to perform Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) for its Med Wind floating offshore wind project in the Mediterranean Sea, with the design of the floating foundations to be based on the INO15™ technology, which can support wind turbines with a capacity of 15 MW.
Tetra Triple-One, based in Boston, Massachusetts, has won the funding for a project revolving around a floating platform of the same name that uses a building-block arrangement, which involves fully producing the parts needed in an industrialised manufacturing environment and then transporting them to the assembly site.
This makes port-side construction possible for a range of platform configurations, turbine sizes, and site conditions, according to information shared by DOE.
One of the members of the Tetra Triple-One team is Henrik Stiesdal, founder of the Danish company Stiesdal Offshore Technologies and chairman of the board of directors of the TetraSpar Demonstrator project, installed offshore Norway in 2021.
University of Maine’s (UMaine) floating wind foundation is also among the awardees. The project VolturnUS+ Domestically Produced Concrete Hull is focused on a simplified geometry for the VolturnUS+ concrete floating platform design.
With a smaller hull compared to traditional semi-submersibles, the design streamlines construction and deployment processes and reduces costs, DOE writes.
UMaine’s Volturnus platform is expected to be installed as part of the floating wind research array in federal waters offshore Maine, for which the State of Maine submitted a lease application in 2021.
The project is planned to consist of up to twelve floating offshore wind turbines capable of generating up to 144 MW of renewable energy. This January, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced a Determination of No Competitive Interest for the proposed lease area for the research project in the Gulf of Maine.
WHEEL U.S., based in Coral Gables, Florida, has developed an ultra-stable floating platform design which is compact in size and can reduce both costs and carbon footprint, according to DOE.
According to the information about the project, led by José Serna García-Conde, one of the founders of the Spanish company Esteyco Energía, the WHEEL platform can temporarily act as a barge platform, allowing it to be assembled with the wind turbine near the shore and towed to sea.
FLOWIN Phase Two and Three to Support Projects’ Next Steps
FLOWIN is a three-phase competition for floating wind platform designers, fabricators, and project site developers that aims to bridge manufacturing and logistics gaps to help meet the Biden administration’s goals of reducing the cost of floating offshore wind by 70 per cent and deploying 15 GW of floating wind generation capacity by 2035.
Phase One projects are eligible to move into the second phase of the competition in which each team will develop a pathway for mass manufacturing and deployment of its floating offshore wind energy substructure design, the Department of Energy says.
Phase Two will have up to five winners, each receiving USD 450,000 in cash and a technical services voucher valued at USD 100,000. The competing teams will be judged on their progress in developing a plan for mass manufacturing and deployment of gigawatt-scale floating wind farms.
Phase Three will focus on detailed implementation pathways and only Phase Two winners will be eligible to compete in this phase. It is anticipated there will be up to three winners in Phase Three, each receiving a cash prize of USD 900,000. Winners of this phase will complete location-specific implementation pathways for the US manufacture and deployment of their floating offshore wind energy technologies.
In total, the FLOWIN Prize has a cash pool of USD 5.85 million, plus up to USD 1.175 million in technical support.
The competition was launched in September 2022 in support of the interagency Floating Offshore Wind Shot and it is the first-ever prize funded by DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office. The prize is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in partnership with the Business Network for Offshore Wind.
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