Photo: Saitec Offshore

BlueSATH floating wind prototype capsizes during Hurricane Epsilon

The scaled-down BlueSATH floating wind turbine prototype has capsized offshore Santander, Spain, during what is described as a ”historic swell generated by Hurricane Epsilon”.

The 1:6 BlueSATH prototype, installed in El Abra del Sardinero back in August, had already completed its testing campaign in operational and extreme scenarios and was to be decommissioned when the Hurricane Epsilon struck, Saitec Offshore, the platform’s developer, said.

The platform has already been retrieved and transported to a shipyard.

The waves with which the scaled-down model was hit during the hurricane were up to ten metres high at the installation site, equivalent to 60-metre waves hitting the full-scale platform, Saitec Offshore said.

Prior to that, the floating turbine withstood waves up to eight metres high during the storms Odette and Alex.

BlueSATH was designed to overcome the worst-case scenario for its dimensions which meant facing five metres high waves, equivalent to 30 metres high waves for the full-scale model, covering extreme environmental scenarios a full-scaled unit could be exposed to around the world, the developer said.

The installation of the prototype, initially planned for last Spring, had to be postponed to August, due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to the short time of testing within the operational environment, it was decided to extend the offshore deployment for one extra month in Autumn to explore the technology’s behavior under extreme conditions even if most of the scenarios were unrealistic scenarios in full-scale, according to the developer.

The removal of the platform and transport to the Port of Santander was planned for the coming weeks, since the hydrodynamic trials were accomplished and considering that the metocean conditions were not representative anymore when scaled and wave condition exceeded design scenarios.

”In any case, the results obtained during the deployment have proven an excellent behavior in harsh design scenarios which even exceeded extreme events to be encountered in offshore sites for wind farms. Consequently, Saitec Offshore feels even more confident of the suitability of SATH technology and continues to push all its projects and opportunities forward,” Saitec Offshore said.