Winter 2019

Windfloat turns to fenders

As demand for renewable energy increases, innovation has shifted to the development of semi-submersible floating wind farms to unlock deep-water sites. 

Fendercare Marine has been closely involved with providing high-specification fenders to ensure problem-free construction and transportation. The team has been closely involved with the construction of WindFloat Atlantic, which is using innovative technology in the design and build of a new kind of floating wind farm in deep waters 20km off the coast of Portugal.

When the wind farm is complete, three giant turbines will sit on a floating foundation (similar to those used by the oil and gas industry) which is semi-submersible and anchored to the seabed.

Key to the innovation is the fact that the facility is built and installed entirely onshore, before being transported to the site. This makes the project both accessible and more affordable: turbines are assembled by standard onshore cranes on dry land (at the port) and transported to the site by tugboats rather than expensive offshore installation vessels.

At an early stage in the development, the Windfloat Atlantic team turned to Fendercare Marine for expert advice about the best way to protect the huge turbines as they are being built, and it has subsequently deployed five 4.5m x 9m Yokohama fenders hired through Fendercare Marine to protect the giant turbines during construction at the installation harbour in Ferrol, Spain.

Sonia Crane, sales manager at Fendercare Marine, says:

‘This is a really interesting project for the team, it is a very exciting milestone for the renewables industry that will open up further opportunities for offshore wind sites, and we are delighted to be involved.’

In July 2019, the first Windfloat Atlantic turbine became the largest turbine ever installed on a floating platform. For this process and for all offshore operations, the Yokohama fenders supplied by Fendercare Marine played an important support role.

The floating structure has now been transported to the coast of Viana do Castelo, Portugal. There it will sit in waters up to 100m deep where abundant wind resources can be harnessed, collectively delivering enough energy for 60,000 homes each year.

This exciting new floating wind farm technology allows for the installation of wind turbines in locations farther from the coast at greater depths where there might be stronger and steadier winds.

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