DemoSATH floating platform work set to begin


Leading global infrastructure operator Ferrovial has been selected for the manufacturing and assembly of the SATH floating platform in the DemoSATH project lead by Saitec Offshore Technologies in collaboration with RWE Renewables.

The construction package will last 14 months and covers site preparation, concrete precasting, procurement of steel bulkheads, and assembly of the floater along with management of the supply chain.

In February 2020, RWE Renewables and Saitec Offshore Technologies announced they were joining forces to test a floating platform for wind turbines off the Basque Coast. (Courtesy: Saitec)

The award of the construction contract is a significant milestone for the project and kicks off the on-site works in the already granted area of the Port of Bilbao (northern Spain). Work will start in November 2020 under strict health and safety rules to protect against COVID-19 and will create about 60 local jobs during the peak of the project.

In February 2020, RWE Renewables and Saitec Offshore Technologies announced they were joining forces to test a floating platform for wind turbines off the Basque Coast. The DemoSATH project will deploy the first multi-megawatt floating offshore wind turbine connected to the Spanish grid. RWE Renewables will finance part of the project costs and contribute its extensive experience as the second largest player in offshore wind globally, gaining access to the resulting findings in return.

The SATH Technology floater is based on a twin hull, made of modularly prefabricated and subsequently braced concrete elements. It can align itself around a single point of mooring depending to the wind and wave direction.

“Our ambition is to rapidly advance toward commercial production,” said David Carrascosa, chief technology officer of Saitec Offshore Technologies. “DemoSATH is therefore not only proving the technical feasibility of the SATH technology but is also demonstrating how these structures can be mass produced. Ferrovial is the perfect partner to rely on and to ensure we meet our objectives.”

“We are pleased to see that the DemoSATH project is entering the manufacturing phase now and making good progress towards offshore installation in 2022,” said Sven Utermöhlen, chief operating officer, Wind Offshore Global of RWE Renewables GmbH. “We see great potential for floating wind farms worldwide, especially in countries with deeper coastal waters where this opens up attractive opportunities. As part of this large-scale demonstration project, we are gaining experience with an innovative concrete-based platform technology that will help us to position ourselves in this growth market.”

“This is Ferrovial’s first floating offshore wind project, and it represents a great opportunity to add value to the project, based on our experience in marine construction and landmark pre-stressed concrete structures,” said Alberto Val, Ferrovial construction manager in Basque Country. “Moreover, this project has a large innovation component, not only because of the materials but also because of the manufacturing and assembly processes that it will develop.”

For the prototype, the structure and the 2-MW wind turbine will be assembled in the port of Bilbao. The base of the structure will be about 30 meters wide and 64 meters long. The platform, including the turbine, will be towed to its anchorage point in a test field (BIMEP) two miles off the coast at a depth of 85 meters. Hybrid mooring lines, composed by chains and fiber anchored to the seabed will hold the floating body in position. The unit is expected to go into operation early 2022. The power generated by DemoSATH will provide enough annual electricity to meet the power needs for 2,000 homes and will prevent emissions of more than 5,100 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The objective of the project is to collect data and gain real-life knowledge from the construction, operation, and maintenance of the unit. DemoSATH will test the offshore behavior of the platform, in addition to the construction procedure to be used in the future for mass production. The various sections of the floater will be first precast and then assembled in order to prove the efficiency of the industrial fabrication conceived by Saitec Offshore Technologies for upcoming commercial wind-farm developments.

SATH technology will also demonstrate its capacity as a local content enabler, largely due to the use of concrete as main construction material. The DemoSATH project will spend 90 percent of its construction budget with the local supply chain (less than 50 kilometers from the site.)

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