Revolutionizing wind

Floating wind turbine project underway in France

Offshore wind farms represent an opportunity to generate electricity much more efficiently while protecting the environment. Winds are strongest further out at sea, but conventional offshore turbines can only be installed at limited depths. Consequently, floating wind turbines are emerging as a trend.

Following Scotland’s lead, France has now begun installing a floating wind turbine. Ideol, an innovative wind turbine manufacturer, is in the final stages of constructing a floating wind turbine off the coast of Saint-Nazaire, France. The project, named Floatgen, marks the beginning of France’s venture into floating wind turbine technology and, if successful, may lead to full-scale wind farms. This could potentially provide green energy to millions of people.

A concept becomes reality

The idea was first conceived in 2010 by engineers Paul de la Guérivière and Pierre Coulombeau. Installing wind turbines further out at sea means the machine benefits from stronger and more consistent winds, thus generating more power. Not only does this make wind energy more cost-effective, it also minimizes the impact of visual pollution due to the turbine not being near civilizations.

SKF plays role in the Floatgen project

Ideol commissioned SKF to carry out the initial audit of the Vestas V80 turbine used for the Floatgen project. A team from SKF France assessed the condition of the main bearings, lubrication, and the generator’s electrical system. SKF also installed a condition monitoring system to report on vibration levels for the entire kinematic chain (main bearings, gearbox, and generator) of the turbine. This enables the machinery’s performance to be monitored remotely – something that is particularly useful due to the turbine’s location.

A sign of what’s to come

As the wind energy sector looks to become more efficient and improve the levelized cost of energy, innovations such as floating wind turbines are likely to become more prominent. By leveraging the optimal conditions further out at sea, organizations will be able to provide environmentally friendly electricity to consumers.

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