If it is up to the European Commission, all the energy used will come from renewable sources by 2050. Achieving this goal will require the large-scale use of floating wind turbines, says Axelle Viré, wind expert at TU Delft. ‘Although the technology is still in its infancy, it has enormous potential,’ she explains. ‘To capitalise on this potential, TU Delft is launching the Floating Renewables Lab: a lab facility that will tie together all the elements of the development chain for floating wind turbines and other offshore renewables with the help of numerical models and AI.’

Deep oceans 

The Dutch are lucky. They live on the shores of a shallow sea, where it is easy to anchor wind turbines to the seabed. However, much of the world’s oceans are too deep for this, says Viré. ‘Once the sea gets deeper than about fifty metres, you can no longer attach the turbines to the seafloor, or in any case only with additional difficulty, and uneconomically. Instead, you have to erect them on floating platforms that are kept in place with cables and anchors.’ It is a technique that is still in its infancy, but for which there is now a lot of interest. The European Commission has proposed to increase Europe’s offshore wind capacity from the current 12 GW up to 400 GW by 2050, of which one third is expected to be generated by floating wind turbines. This will be complemented with 40 GW of emerging technologies such as ocean energy and floating solar power.

Read more at TUDelft.nl