EU funding proposal submitted to advance offshore wind farm technologies

The proposed project could significantly contribute to the EU's sustainable energy security goals

Karianne Skjæveland
Communication Manager
April 13, 2023
Offshore wind

The world is increasingly turning towards clean energy solutions to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and as a result, there is an exponential growth in the demand for offshore wind energy. The industry, however, still faces significant challenges in sustainability, energy efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

TheFlex2future project aims to address these challenges by improving Rosenberg Worley’s already existing Flex2power concept, a cost- and area-efficient offshore floating energy production solution that captures energy from multiple sources: Wind, waves, and the sun.

A strong consortium for the future of modular offshore wind farms

The Flex2future project partners who submitted their proposal for Horizon Europe under the call Critical technologies for the offshore wind farm of the Future on 30th March make up a consortium covering a large range of the value chain for the floating wind energy industry in Europe:

Four research institutes (NORCE, WavEC, Cener, GEOMAR), two pan-European network clusters (Energy Transition Norway and Norwegian Offshore Wind), two industrial players (Rosenberg Worley and EDP), as well as two universities (GHENT, DTU).

Knut Høiland, project manager at Rosenberg Worley AS, says the application process went smoothly, and believes that the concept itself will have big potential in a global market for renewable energy production from floating installation. With this strong consortium working together to optimize every aspects of the concept the potential increases significantly.  

– All participants in the consortium agree that our chance for receiving funding from the Horizon Europe program is good. And, this is encouraging, considering that some of the participating R&D institutions have received grants from EU projects in the past, says Høiland.

The primary objective of the project is to improve and optimize the critical elements of the already existing Flex2power design from a full-scale demonstrator to a modular design for park-scale deployment.

Flex2power heads into the future

The Flex2power concept is a sustainable and cost-efficient offshore floating wind energy production solution that stabilizes wind turbines and simultaneously produces wave and solar energy.

The floating foundation is shaped like a square with a distance of 306 meters between the wind turbines in each corner. The foundation floats on the seas surface, much like a blanket. The energy from the movement of the waves is converted into electricity via hydraulic systems and generators. PV panels aremounted on top of each generator and produce electricity from solar energy.

What makes the concept unique is its combination of energy production from several renewable sources while occupying 1/6 of the area compared to existing floating wind park concepts.

Improving sustainability and energy efficiency

To achieve its goal to improve the Flex2power modular design for cost-efficiency, optimized marine space use, and minimized environmental footprint, the proposed EU project aims to maximize energy output, accelerated concept adoption, optimization for sustainability, cost-efficiency, and adaptability to European industrial infrastructure and workforce, as well as pan-European manufacturing.

The project will generate and share novel insights into floating offshore wind turbines’ sustainable design and industrialization, and the project partners adopt a case study methodology targeting three potential full-scale deployment cases across Europe.

By looking at Norway, Portugal, and France specifically, the project ensures to impact on the European value chain in a broad way. The deployment cases in question involve data gathering, technological and industrial optimization, as well as social and environmental research assessing different European geographical locations and local value chains.

Disrupting current LCOE trajectory with flexible floaters

The Flex2future project has the potential to make energy production cheaper and more efficient by using flexible floaters. With this project, the consortium is contributing to creating a viable plan for cost-effective energy production by 2030 in Europe.

– We believe that the concept itself will make a big impact on the global market for renewable energy production from floating installations, said Høiland. – Findings from this project could help improve other concepts with regard to cost, area efficiency, environmental impact, CO2 footprint from construction, as well as the combination and use of different materials.

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