Floating wind turbines are seen as key to unlocking the massive energy potential in global offshore deep water, where there are strong winds and bottom-founded structures are not economically feasible. GustoMSC is a market leader in the offshore wind installation vessels market and now aims to play a significant role in the floating foundation market as well.
Floating wind farms do not compete against bottom founded offshore wind. They should be seen as an enabler for offshore wind energy at sites with deep waters or challenging soil conditions. The Tri-Floater, a semi-submersible wind turbine foundation, has been designed by GustoMSC specifically for this purpose.
GustoMSC has applied proven semi-submersible technology developed for the offshore oil and gas industry to a completely new setting in a new industry. The GustoMSC Tri-Floater is a three-column semi-submersible with an offshore wind turbine positioned in the centre of the foundation. The semi-submersible foundation can be tailored to fit any desired turbine, and optimized for local environmental conditions.
The key requirements for commercializing floating wind turbines are lowering the costs and enabling a large-scale industrialisation set-up. The robust and cost-effective GustoMSC Tri-Floater meets both these demands. The flat-plated design allows for an efficient and highly automated fabrication process, which lowers the construction costs considerably and can be easily scaled up for commercial floating wind farms. In addition, the columns are not connected by bracings, which avoids having fatigue-sensitive spots below the still water line, where access for inspection and maintenance is expensive.
The global floating wind market is maturing, moving from single prototypes to pilot farms with three to five floaters. With the first pilot farm installed by Equinor in 2017, the first commercial scale floating wind farms are expected in 2024 – 2030. Currently GustoMSC is involved in several floating offshore wind projects worldwide, investigating the potential of Tri-Floater technology.
With GustoMSC joining the NOV family, the Tri-Floater concept will make use of in-house synergy and related offshore technology, potentially involving a variety of different NOV companies. This will optimize and strengthen the Tri-Floater’s overall proposition towards the clients.