Japanese floater ready for installation

JAPAN: A floating demonstration project using an Ideol platform and an Aerodyn turbine has completed construction in the port at Kitakyushu in the south-west of the country.

NEDO's demonstration will leave Kitakyushu port for its installation site on 24 August (pic credit: Japanese Wind Power Association)

The project is being developed by Japan's research and development (R&D) organisation, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO).

It features German turbine designer Aerodyn’s 3MW SCD two-bladed turbine installed on French firm Ideol's "dampening pool" floating platform.

Engineering corporation Hitachi Zosen (Hitz) built the platform at its dockyard on the island of Honshu and towed it to Kitakyushu on the southern island of Kyushu through the Setonaikai Sea in late June.

The turbine’s 72-metre hub height means it is too tall to travel under some of the bridges crossing the inland sea, so it was installed on the platform at Kitakyushu port between July and early August, the NEDO explained.

It will set sail for its anchoring site about 15 kilometres offshore, where it will be installed in waters about 50 metres deep, on 24 August.

The turbine is expected to start delivering power to utility Kyushu Electric Power in September.

Aerodyn had carried out bench tests on its SCD 3MW upwind turbine, which has a rotor diameter of 100 metres, at the RWTH Aachen technical university in north-west Germany in 2017.

Meanwhile, the NEDO explained Ideol’s barge-type floating platform, which consists of a ring-shaped platform loosely moored to the seabed, is well-suited to the relatively shallow waters.

The R&D organisation added the area of the Port of Kitakyushu that serves the Hibikinada Sea — in which the demonstration project is located — is being developed as an offshore wind hub. Developer Hibiki Wind Energy is using the port's facilities for a 220MW offshore project.

Japenese corporations Marubeni and Glocal have also been involved in the NEDO project, with the former carrying out cost analysis and the latter selecting the turbine and mooring system.

Wind power developer Eco Power carried out the environmental impact assessment before Hitz installed the project.

Tokyo University will evaluate the project’s performance and renewables developer Kyushu Mirai Energy will be responsible for interconnection and evaluating power quality, the NEDO added.