Tank testing completed on ocean FPV prototype

BOOST (Bringing Offshore Ocean Sun to the Global Market) – an EU Horizon 2020-funded project, which seeks to demonstrate a 0,25MWp floating solar PV plant in one of Europe’s sunniest areas, the Canary Islands, has successfully completed the first tank testing of a design solution in Trondheim, Norway.  

Based on patented floating solar photovoltaics (FPV) technology developed by the Norwegian company Ocean Sun, the European R&D project aims to validate a design solution with enhanced resilience and flexibility for the technology to be expanded to open sea conditions.

Ocean Sun’s technology is inspired by structures used in the Norwegian fish farming industry and integrates a disruptive and patented floating hydro-elastic membrane (<1mm thickness).

The project addresses the challenges FPV architecture faces from high wave and wind loads in open sea, by exploring modifications to Ocean Sun’s existing products, equipping it for the rough conditions at open sea.

The project is performed by a consortium of partners coordinated by Fred. Olsen Renewables and including: Innosea, Ocean Sun AS, PLOCAN and The Institute of Technology of the Canary Islands (ITC).

Innosea, as part of its scope of work on the project, contributed to the design of the trial procedure and definition of monitored parameters for the tank testing.

Results from the tank testing have been post-processed, analysed and are being used to calibrate numerical models for the floating and mooring system. The first tank test also provided useful input on possible failure modes and to the risk management activities of the project, which is key to the subsequent prototype certification.   

The project’s next steps include a meeting of all project partners in the Canary Islands in October for a site visit and in-person meeting, following largely remote collaboration since the start of the project.

A second and final testing session in Trondheim will take place at the end of the year to simulate combined wind and wave effects on the design solution. The installation of the system in the waters outside Gran Canaria is planned to take place early next year and will mark the start of the system validation test.   

“We are really proud to reach this important project milestone, despite COVID-19 restrictions forcing collaboration between project partners to be almost entirely remote. As COVID meant we were unable to travel from France to supervise the tank testing, we benefited from the global footprint of our wider group company, with our Oslo-based colleagues able to attend on Innosea’s behalf. We are pleased to see the project making good progress in exploring solutions to enhance FPV infrastructure for expansion to untapped high-solar areas at sea.”

Richard Le Failler, Project Manager, Innosea

“The sea-state outside of Gran Canaria represent a step change for the application area for commercial floating solar technologies today. Successful operation of our special membrane solution in these 4 waters will pave way for abundant supply of affordable renewable energy in the lower latitudes.”

Børge Bjøneklett, CEO and Founder of Ocean Sun