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New mooring technology opens door to low cost floating wind farms

Rope made with Dyneema® fiber offers significant operational efficiency

The ongoing drive to move wind farms further from shore into deeper waters is set to make a big leap forward with the deployment in 2019 of a game-changing floating foundation technology. The Windfloat Atlantic project will incorporate the largest and most powerful wind turbines ever installed onto a floating foundation at sea. The mooring system uses Lankhorst Gamma98® mooring ropes made with Dyneema® DM20 fiber.

WindFloat is a Floating Offshore Wind Turbine (FOWT) concept developed by Principle Power Inc., a specialist in offshore floating wind energy technology. 5 years ago, the first prototype has been successfully deployed. However, it used a steel wire based mooring system, putting limitations during installation and dismantling.

The lean lightweight mooring system will ease the installation, decommissioning and optional future de-couplings for in-port turbine maintenance.

Now though, this problem is set to become a memory with the newest iteration of the WindFloat semi-submersible foundation. Developed for Windplus SA, an energy consortium, the new version of the foundation replaces the steel wire with strong, lightweight Lankhorst Gama98® mooring rope. This incorporates Dyneema® DM20, a HMPE fiber for permanent mooring that can withstand continuous tension for 10 times the operational life of 25 years. The lean lightweight mooring system will ease the installation, decommissioning and optional future de-couplings for in-port turbine maintenance.

Overview of Principle Power, Inc.'s Windfloat design

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Lightweight, strong and cost effective deeper water mooring

The genius of the WindFloat concept is that it dampens wave and turbine-induced motion. Each WindFloat is a triangular semi-submersible hull with a wind turbine in one corner. Being semi-submersible, it needs a compliant mooring system to keep the floating platform on station and at the same time avoid peak forces. This is achieved by using a three-leg catenary mooring system consisting of bottom chain and Lankhorst rope made with Dyneema®.

The new mooring system offers benefits that will make it easier and more economically viable to install and operate wind farms in today’s inaccessible sites. As well as their lifetime and tension-fatigue benefits, the Lankhorst ropes with Dyneema® support faster deployment and lower costs during installation and decommissioning. This is because they are easier and safer to handle and require fewer heavy installation and lift operations. The installation vessels employed can also be smaller or take more mooring equipment on board reducing the amount of ship movements. And rope made with Dyneema® is also slightly buoyant. This reduces the amount of buoyancy that needs to be built into the floating platform compared to an all steel mooring system.

The new mooring system offers benefits that will make it easier and more economically viable to install and operate wind farms in today’s inaccessible sites.

The mooring system for WindFloat Atlantic floating foundations is certified by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and is compliant with ABS Guidance Notes on the Application of Fiber Rope for Offshore Mooring.

The new mooring technology will get its first outing in 2019, when three floating foundations will be installed 20 kilometers off the north coast of Portugal. The foundations of WindFloat Atlantic will each carry an 8.4MW turbine in waters ranging from 85m to 100m deep.

''This is a breakthrough for the use of DM20 fiber in moorings for floating wind farms.''

Jorn Boesten, segment manager offshore energy for DSM

“This is a breakthrough for the use of DM20 fiber in moorings for floating wind farms. A logical step after the use of Dyneema® in deep water moorings for the oil and gas industry” says Jorn Boesten, segment manager offshore energy for DSM. “We are committed to bring these technologies to the offshore energy market as these prove that by using these technologies the cost of offshore energy generation is lowered.”


Sustainability is DSM’s core value and a key responsibility and for many years we have made sustainability a real business driver for DSM, developing solutions, building partnerships and increasing our impact in key areas. We believe that our expertise positions DSM well to actively contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as were agreed by more than 190 world leaders in September 2015. This project shows clearly the contribution with SDG number 7: ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.