Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

Precast concrete floating platform to support Off-shore deep sea wind turbines

Posted by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPCResponsive · Patents for licensing · Spain

Summary of the technology

A new system including the design of the platform and erection process has been developed to produce economical and high-reliable floating support to offshore wind turbines in deep sea waters. A prestressed concrete structure built in a dry-dock, which includes both the floater and the tower is towed to the final position, where it is erected in a simple operation. The nacelle and the turbine can be placed without using a high crane. Partners to further develop the system and/or to establish commercial agreements along with technical cooperation are sought.

The Challenge

Off-shore wind energy presents both a huge opportunity to produce energy in places with a high wind resource and a technical challenge due to the harsh conditions in deep sea waters. Most sea borders are practically unable to be a location for seabed fixed wind turbines because there is no continental platform, and the sea depth sharply increases to hundreds of meters. The main interests on going off-shore are the larger wind resource which exists on the sea –usually more than two fold than the existing on-ground– and the almost nil visual impact. Then, there is a necessity to design and produce economical floating platforms to support turbines on deep sea waters. In recent years, several designs have being investigated, mostly inspired in off-shore oil structures, such as TLP (Tension Leg Platform), barge systems and spar buoyancy. The latter is the one which requires less active and mechanical systems, as several international studies have already demonstrated.

The Technology

Right now, most wind off-shore support structures are been built in steel. However, with the increase of the power of the turbines and the need of larger support structures, particularly floating structures, concrete becomes very competitive, as has occurred with the largest on-shore wind towers. In addition, marine conditions allow to move large constructions at a minimum cost and, also, to emerge and partially submerge the platform.
The design is based on a monolithic prestressed concrete spar type structure which includes both the floater and the tower, with a total length between 150 and 300 m, depending on turbine’s power and the sea environment. The system to place, erect and emerge of the platform is consistent whit the size of the members.

Current stage of development

Complete structural analysis in both service and temporary conditions, and cost analysis have been developed. There is a need for a scale prototype to tune the final design and then, also, full scale prototype.

Applications and Target Market

· This novel design is of much interest for energy utilities producing renewable offshore energy.

· This design can be used throughout the world, in places where off-shore wind turbines have to be supported by floating platforms, offering new sustainability market opportunities.

Innovative advantages

· Economical and endurable materials and design.
Easy and safe tow and erection processes.
Easy change of the nacelle or other turbine’s elements.
Passive systems with no maintenance unless the turbine.
Small pitch and yaw displacements in service.

Intellectual property status

Granted Patent
Technology available for licensing with technical cooperation Patent Status EP,US, JP, KR application

Technology Owner

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

Technology Transfer Office

Related keywords

  • Wind Technology
  • Energy efficiency
  • Energy Technology
  • Land and Sea Disposal
  • Turbines

About Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

Technology Transfer Office from Spain

The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech is a public institution dedicated to higher education and research in the fields of engineering, architecture and science, which contributes its knowledge and expertise in order to increase scientific output, transfer its results to society and provide a network of scientific and technical state-of-the-art facilities and technology valorization services that place us at the leading edge of innovation and economic development.

The UPC has established itself as a driver of innovation and is the technology partner of choice for companies and organizations with which it develops projects and builds partnerships. A role borne out by the numerous agreements and research projects that have been set in motion by groups, organizations and laboratories; the creation of new technology-based companies; the generation and exploitation of patents, and the scientific and technical services UPC makes available to its environment in order to generate progress and employment.

The Technology Transfer Office (SGI) is responsible of Designing, coordinating and implementing research valorisation strategies, carrying out the protection policy of the research results, marketing these results through license contracts and designing and setting up the University's enterprise creation model in order to transfer the results of the research to the market, protect and commercialize these results, promote the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, and create technology-based companies within the UPC environment.

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