Vallourec develops new system for anchoring offshore wind turbines

March 31st, 2012 by Vallourec

Vallourec's Preon Marine patented tube system is designed to anchor offshore wind turbines to the seabed (click image to expand - image courtesy of Vallourec)

Vallourec, with 22,000 employees and €5.3 billion in sales, has developed a patented PREON® marine tubes system, which is designed to anchor offshore wind turbines to the seabed.

Developed by Vallourec’s research and development teams, this technology means that offshore wind turbine foundations can be installed with less effort, noise and at a lower depth, compared to the two existing solutions.

The area needed to install the PREON® marine system is considerably smaller than that of the “gravity system” based on concrete foundations. The lighter system with a smaller external pile diameter is drilled approximately 20 metres into the seabed, compared with the usual 60 metres of systems with anchoring piles.

The installation of PREON® marine system generates only about 75 decibels compared to the 200 decibels generated by 3,000 hammer blows required to drive the anchoring piles into the seabed. Such a sound level is harmful to marine life and limits the scope for installation in tightly regulated areas.

PREON® marine requires less material than existing solutions and offers scope for faster, cheaper installation, opening up new economic prospects.

This system will be able to establish installations in areas of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea that are subject to strict environmental regulations.

Andreas Denker, Managing Director of Vallourec’s Industry Activities, said “the market for offshore wind power is expected to grow strongly in the coming years. Vallourec has developed an innovative solution for this market which generates savings in terms of materials, time and money and at the same time preserves the environment.”

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) is forecasting up to 40 GW of installed generating capacity in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea by 2020.

With the most powerful wind turbines currently generating 5 MW, this adds up to the installation of some 8,000 offshore wind turbines by 2020.

By 2030, the EWEA forecast is for an offshore installed generating capacity of 150 GW, or the equivalent of a further 20,000 units between 2020 and 2030.

 

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