UMaine's composites center updates floating turbine deployment efforts

The 1:8 scale floating turbine to be tested off the coast of Maine will use a composite tower on top of a concrete semi-submersible platform.

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Habib Dagher, director of the Advanced Composites & Structures Center at the University of Maine (Orono, Maine, USA) reported at the Offshore Wind Power USA Boston conference, Feb. 26-27, that the Center's efforts to develop a scale model of a floating wind turbine for testing off the coast of Maine is progressing well, with deployment expected later this year.

Dagher says the 1:8 scale turbine will comprise a composite tower atop a concrete semi-submersible floating base. The entire structure will be towed to Castine, Maine for testing in May, and then transported to ocean waters near Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine for installation and operation in August.

Dagher added that the Center evaluated a tension-leg platform (TLP) design, as well as a spar design for the floating portion of the tower. Spars, he said, may be a better option in deeper waters. Preliminary testing done by AEWC with smaller scale designs showed them to be more susceptible to wave heights and swells. TLPs, he noted, must be anchored to rocky bottoms that can handle the tension loads. Thus, for the 1:8 scale model, a semi-submersible design was selected.