Floating Offshore Wind Farm: Will it withstand typhoons?

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Equinor Korea has announced the results of model testing for the structures to be installed in the Firefly/Bandibuli offshore wind project, which took place at SINTEF Ocean’s testing facility in Trondheim, Norway from February 22 to March 22, 2023. SINTEF Ocean is a leading research institute in the field of marine technology and bio-ocean research and has played a crucial role in the development of floating wind turbines since 2005. They have tested the world’s first floating offshore wind turbine demonstration model, known as the Hywind Demo.

The testing aimed to assess the durability and stability of the structures located in the offshore wind farm, taking into account the extreme conditions of wind, waves, and currents in the Ulsan coastal area. The results showed that the structures are capable of withstanding even the most severe typhoons that could occur once every 500 years, including those classified as category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. The structures also proved to be resilient in the harshest wind conditions observed in Ulsan between 1979 and 2021, including the severe winds of Typhoon Maysak in 2020.

Offshore wind power can be categorized into fixed and floating structures. Fixed offshore wind turbines are installed on towers anchored to the seabed and are typically used in shallow waters. On the other hand, floating offshore wind turbines are installed on floating platforms and are suitable for deep-water areas.

The size of the floating offshore wind structures can reach up to 260 meters, which raises concerns about their stability. However, Equinor, with over 50 years of expertise in marine engineering and project management, is a global leader in the offshore wind industry, ensuring safe and efficient operations. Safety is a top priority for Equinor, and this testing has demonstrated the robustness of the Firefly/Bandibuli offshore wind project in Ulsan’s extreme marine environment.

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