French floater

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A French consortium led by wind power specialist Nass & Wind is the latest to announce it is developing an offshore floating turbine for use in deep water. The aim is to design and develop a new concept for floating turbines for depths of 50-150 metres which are economically competitive.

The Winflo turbine will be mounted on an "innovative free-floating platform" anchored to the seabed. It will be a lightweight turbine of 2.5 MW or 3 MW adapted for marine conditions. Monitoring and some maintenance functions will be carried out electronically using "e-maintenance" technology developed in the naval sector.

Nass & Wind says it aims to install a near-scale prototype offshore in 2011, with commercial production from 2013, all being well. The test site has not been chosen yet, but will most likely be off the coast of Brittany, but not too far offshore for ease of monitoring.

The other members of the Winflo consortium are DCNS, one of Europe's leading ship-builders; Sofresid Engineering, a subsidiary of Italy's Saipem, which designs oil and gas platforms; In Vivo Environnement, a specialist in marine environmental impact studies; and IFREMER and ENSIETA, two marine research centres based in Brest. Blue H, a company registered in the Netherlands, also recently established a subsidiary in Brittany to develop a 3.5 MW deep-water turbine in association with local companies and research centres (Windpower Monthly, November 2008) and has won a British government grant to advance its technology (story below).

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