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Offshore Wind Journal

Design review paves way for tests of innovative floating foundation

Fri 15 Sep 2017 by David Foxwell

Design review paves way for tests of innovative floating foundation
The VolturnUS concept is based on a concrete four-column semi-submersible

ABS has completed a design review for the University of Maine-developed VolturnUS foundation for floating offshore wind turbines.

The patented VolturnUS, developed by the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine (UMaine), is based on a concrete four-column semi-submersible.

In 2013, the UMaine team successfully tested the feasibility of the concept by developing a 1:8 scale model and deploying it offshore Maine. The current pilot project consists of two full-scale semi-submersibles, each with a 6 megawatt (MW) turbine. Both units will be connected to the Maine power grid by subsea cables.

Plans are in place for the semi-submersibles to be used for the New England Aqua Ventus I project, a 12 MW facility offshore Maine funded by the US Department of Energy. This is a pilot project to demonstrate that the innovative design of the VolturnUS is a viable and economical alternative for offshore wind developments in water depths greater than 50 m.

“UMaine is pleased that its innovative design became the first floating wind turbine concrete semi-submersible hull to be reviewed by ABS, and found to meet the ABS requirements,” says UMaine director and principal investigator Dr Habib Dagher.

“After 10 years of development, this is a major milestone for our programme, and we expect the VolturnUS hull concept to continue to attract private investment from the US and around the world. Nearly 70% of the US offshore wind resources can be captured using the UMaine VolturnUS technology, and we are looking forward to working with offshore wind developers across the country.”

ABS completed a design review of the semisubmersible, verifying compliance with its Guide for Building and Classing Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Installations. The process consisted of an independent review of the hull/tower structure, coupled aeroelastic/hydrodynamic loads, safety, stability, electrical systems, equipment, piping and hydrodynamic and station-keeping design. ABS determined that FEED design, as presented, met the requirements of the relevant ABS Rules and regulatory standards.

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