Hexicon taps SSAB for Baltic floater

Swedish floating wind power developer Hexicon has sealed a deal with compatriot steel maker SSAB, as part of plans to install a industrial-scale demonstration model of its giant multi-turbine concept in the Baltic Sea by 2017.

Hexicon and SSAB aim to optimise the super-strength Welcox structured steel that is in the frame for use in the foundation of the Hexicon flagship, "to ensure functionality and cost-effective solutions during the complete life cycle".

The pilot unit, which would feature "three or four" 6MW turbines, would be moored on the Bleking concession off the east coast of Sweden in 40-50 metres of water. A turbine supplier will be chosen "in the autumn".

Larger versions of the Hexicon concept have been looked at in the past for other locations, including a gigantic 54MW station fitted with a mix of 6.5MW horizontal-axis machines and 30 500kW vertical-axis turbines that was mulled for installation in the deep waters off Malta.

Hexicon sees a pipeline of projects waiting to take shape off Scotland, Spain's Canary Islands and in "one of several locations in the Mediterranean" following the Swedish demonstrator, a company spokesman tells Recharge, adding there has also been "preliminary interest" from several Chinese developers.

“This agreement [with SSAB] is an important milestone in further development of our patented solutions," says Hexicon chief executive Henrik Baltscheffsky.

"Far offshore wind power is more easily scalable and a prime source of renewable energy. Hexicon's technology offers competitive advantages for the long term renewable energy market."

Head of SSAB Emea Melker Jernberg adds: “The Hexicon patent is an application where our high-strength structured steel will come to excellent usage."

Hexicon’s original floating wind-power station concept was designed in the Olympian-scale tradition of the offshore oil and shipbuilding industries, based around a closed-cell steel-and-foam sandwich hull 480 metres across and 26 metres tall in the water.

The demonstrator is in line to be built at the Karlskrona shipyard using an all-Swedish supply chain for componentry, bar the turbines.