Brittany-based Blue H France has formed a consortium with a number of French companies and research centres to design, build and install the 3.5 MW prototype. That consortium has sought a research grant for the project from Pole Mer Bretagne, a government agency that fosters ties between industry and research centres. "Development work will probably begin in the next few months and likely last for two to three years before we can start the measurement campaign at sea," says Francois Huber of Blue H France. Huber says the design of a 3.5 MW commercial unit should be completed by the time the prototype is ready. "Then you can have confirmation with measurements and can start building." Work on the Blue H turbine in France is also progressing in parallel to development work carried out by engineers in Italy, where the firm recently installed an 80 kW demonstration prototype off the coast of Apulia. Blue H is also promoting its technology in America (Windpower Monthly, July 2008). Engineers in Italy are currently adapting two Gamma 2 MW turbines for use at sea, although the 3.5 MW model is the one for which serial production is planned. "What we're trying to do is to develop a number of innovations, some in Italy and some in France," explains Huber. "But we're all going in the same direction." Huber says the location of Blue H France in Brittany is partially due to the good potential for locating offshore wind farms in the area.