Gicon gets US floating wind patent

German floating wind turbine designer Gicon has been awarded a US patent for its SOF concept.

Already patented in Europe, the foundation, a semisubmersible hull fixed to the seabed by stiff steel tendons, is covered through to July 2017, with “extended protection” running to 2029.

“The US will be one of the leading markets for offshore wind development in the future. Therefore, it is an important step for Gicon to achieve patent protection for our SOF in the US market,” states Gicon chief executive Jochen Grossmann.

The SOF, which recently completed scale trials in the Technical University of Berlin’s wave tank, is designed for deployment in water depths of between 20-500-plus metres.

As well as its wide installation envelope, the design has the benefit of being fully-assembled with mounted turbine quayside, before tow-out to site, a “more cost-effective and less weather dependent installation,” says Grossman.

The planned SOF flagship will feature a 2-3MW turbine atop a 70-metre tower. Construction is slated to begin this year in northeast Germany, with steel fabrication at P+S Werften in Stralsund and final assembly at Nordic Yards in Rostock.

The unit — which uses a modularised design fine-tuned before test last year at Dutch R&D facility Marin to whittle down the number of components for “ease and speed” of construction — will be built quayside, complete with turbine, and towed to its operation site.

Gicon recently said it was in “final discussions” with a shortlist of turbine suppliers.

The company has told Recharge it is looking beyond the Baltic Sea project to a North Sea pilot in 2015 using a 5-6MW turbine “with partners either from Germany, France, Spain and/or the US”.

A video of the tank trials can be seen here.