With a share of more than 11% of the gross electricity generation, wind power is currently the most important form of energy generation in Germany. However, due to the country’s location and geographical size as well as its high population density, there are limitations to expanding wind energy on the mainland. Now that a number of noteworthy, large-scale projects have been realised offshore, it is now harder to find areas that don’t have a negative impact on container shipping and on nature conservation. While in the German North Sea the average foundation depth ‒ i.e. the depth of the wind turbine foundations under the water ‒ is around 20 metres, projects involving the installation of wind turbines at depths of up to 50 metres are already being implemented today.
Taking this a step further to the open sea, German scientists and engineers are now researching how wind turbines can be operated efficiently on floating platforms. The University of Stuttgart, the Hamburg University of Technology and the company Sowento GmbH are working together on this project to analyse a prototype for a floating wind energy system and for optimising energy concepts. The pilot plant was realised as part of a previous European research project on the French-Atlantic coast, and the German consortium is now continuing this preliminary work.
Within a 6-month period, three-dimensional measurements will be taken on site of the wind speed, wind direction and turbulence. The data obtained will serve as a basis for developing and validating various simulation models. Based on this, models for new floating platforms will be developed and simulated. In future, the floating platforms will actually be able to balance out the fluctuations in wind and wave movements and thus further extend the useful life of the plants.
The VAMOS research project also benefits from a comprehensive exchange between manufacturers, operators and certification bodies. This facilitates a quick market entry in the future. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is funding the VAMOS project from 2019 – 2022 with 1.3 Mio. Euros.