Principle Power targets the rapidly maturing offshore wind sector by eliminating current deep-water limitations with an innovative and economic solution.
WindFloat is a floating support structure for offshore wind turbines with a simple, economic and patented design. The innovative features of the WindFloat dampen wave and turbine induced motion, enabling wind turbines to be sited in previously inaccessible locations where water depth exceeds 50m and wind resources are superior. Further, economic efficiency is maximized by reducing the need for offshore heavylift operations during final assembly deployment and commissioning. Multiple projects are in development for the installation of commercial Windfloat units in both European and US offshore wind farms.
There are three advantages to the WindFloat foundation: first, its static and dynamic stability provides sufficiently low pitch performance enabling use of commercial offshore wind turbines; second, its design and size allow for onshore assembly; third, its shallow draft allows for depth independent siting and wet tow (fully assembled and commissioned) to sites not visible from shore. Primary markets are transitional (30-60m) and deep ( greater than 60m) water offshore wind sites in the US and Europe, previously inaccessible, and estimated to have greater than 2 terawatt (TW) of resource potential. Secondary markets include sites in Asia and other Oceanic countries.
The WindFloat is fitted with patented water entrapment (heave) plates at the base of each column. The plates improve the motion performance of the system significantly due to damping and entrained water effects. This stability performance allows for the use of existing commercial wind turbine technology. In addition, WindFloat's closed-loop hull trim system mitigates mean wind-induced thrust forces. This secondary system ensures optimal energy conversion efficiency following changes in wind velocity and direction.
The design of the WindFloat enables the structure to be fully assembled onshore and towed to its final location. All fabrication and qualification is completed at quayside in a controlled environment. Deployment cost savings are significant when compared with monopile/jacket support structures which require offshore heavylift operations.
The mooring system employs conventional components such as chain and polyester lines to minimize cost and complexity. Through the use of pre-laid drag embedded anchors, site preparation and impact is minimized.