The chosen designs by Atkins, Modec and Ulstein are now undergoing further study to help bring the winning concepts to maturity.
The Innovation Challenge looked to other companies within the energy sector to make the Hywind concept available in more markets around the world. The Hywind demonstrator was launched in 2009 as the world’s first full-scale floating offshore wind demonstration unit, and a 30MW pilot park is planned for installation off the coast of Scotland in 2017, using five 6MW turbines.
With plans for even bigger arrays of turbines in the future, Statoil launched the Installation Challenge to look at options to improve the Hywind turbines assembly and installation sequence to make the concept more cost efficient and available in more markets around the world.
Atkins’ solution to this problem was to use multiple turbines attached to a reusable transportation frame. This reduced the draught of the structures, giving greater flexibility in where they can be assembled. Benefits include enabling assembly against a conventional quayside, which removes the requirement for offshore lifts and so offers potential for cost, schedule and safety gains. The concept also would allow multiple turbines to be towed simultaneously, increasing transport efficiency. The design would also reduce weather restrictions on towing and allow an increase in tow speed compared to towing single turbines.
Chris Cowland, Atkins’ projects director for offshore renewables, said: “The offshore renewable industry is constantly looking for ways to reduce costs. In this instance, we were able to draw upon our talent and expertise across our oil and gas teams in North America and the UK, as well as our renewables division, to develop innovative solutions for the benefit of the industry.”