A new concrete-based type of floating platform developed by Spanish researchers could cut the cost of offshore wind energy generation in half.
Developed by Spanish researchers, the cylindrical platform dubbed WindCrete has a large float and a ballast base that makes it self-stabilising with fewer maintenance requirements and a lifespan of around 50 years, the team said.
The key to the improved performance is the use of concrete instead of the more commonly used steel. Concrete is not only less expensive but also allows the structure to be seamless and monolithic, which makes it more durable against the effects of wind and sea.
The use of concrete by itself reduces the cost of construction by 60 per cent, which in turn translates into lower costs for energy generation from 24 cents per kilowatt hour to 12.
The platform was developed by researchers from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya as part of the EU-funded project AFOPS (Alternative Floating Offshore substructure for offshore wind farms).
The WindCrete structure, capable of supporting five to 15 megawatt wind turbines, can be anchored at minimum depths of 90m. However, there is no technical maximum depth at which they can be installed.