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Innovation towards 10-20 MW offshore wind turbines

A recently concluded EU project UPWIND had demonstrated that the development of large offshore wind turbines is technically feasible, but still not cost-effective. Innovative solutions are needed for all the components to make offshore wind energy cost effective. Therefore, the FP7 project INNWIND.EU was initiated to develop innovation to enable the design cost-efficient 10-20 MW offshore wind turbines.

INNWIND.EU was a very large EU project that ended in 2017. The project aimed at conceptual design of beyond-state-of-the-art 10-20 MW offshore wind turbines and hardware demonstrators of their critical components. The project has developed several innovative rotor designs, drivetrain components, and fixed and floating substructures that greatly reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) for 10-20 MW offshore wind turbines.

The INNWIND project aims at the development of large offshore wind turbines

Light weigth offshore turbines

The INNWIND.EU consortium consists of large wind turbine manufacturers, certification bodies, consulting companies, research institutions and leading universities. An assessment of the entire wind turbine with different innovations has been made at the 10 MW and 20 MW scales by applying performance indicators and a comprehensive cost model developed in the project. Moving from conventional 5 MW offshore turbines to light-weight 10 MW- 20 MW scale allows a reduction of up to in levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) due to the larger turbine size along with the use of an efficient light-weight rotor and the shift from traditional three-stage geared drive trains to a medium speed drive. Significant further reduction of LCOE is achieved for both 10 MW and 20 MW designs, by the advanced concepts developed in INNWIND.EU. An overall LCOE reduction of more than 30% has been estimated by combining the different innovations developed in the project.

ECN part of TNO has contributed to the develpoment a number of promising innovations, such as:

  • development of low induction rotor, which constrains the extreme loads at the blade root and allows large rotor diameters with increased energy capture,
  • optimized aerodynamic and structural platforms of blades for reduced blade root fatigue and tower base fatigue
  • advanced wind turbine control leading to substantial load reductions in extreme operating conditions
    - control of floating wind turbines
  • development of model for the LCoE of offshore wind turbines.

Dr Stoyan Kanev

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ECN part of TNO

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