NEPTUN – North Sea development platform for technology transfer and nature conservation
FuE-Zentrum FH Kiel GmbH is setting up a centre for research, development and testing of processes and products in offshore technology. The project's main purpose is to build the FINO3 research platform in the North Sea, located in the area where the DanTysk wind power plants are scheduled for construction, Nördlicher Grund, Sandbank 24 and OSB Butendiek, some 80km west of Sylt. The research platform will facilitate the testing of products and processes in the area of maritime technology. This undertaking is targeting both regional industry (SME) and Schleswig-Holstein's institutions of higher education. The project is being supported by the Land Government of Schleswig-Holstein using funding from the "Regionalprogramm 2000" and is scheduled to run to July 2009.
In its capacity as a centre of excellence for the use of offshore wind power, the FINO3 research platform is to become a "technology centre at sea". The infrastructure that is temporarily required to implement the plan (substructure, platform, weather mast, technical equipment) will be manufactured by FuE-Zentrum FH Kiel GmbH. The construction and operation of the planned offshore wind power plants will place new demands on all parties involved in the process. The wind power plants and all other required technical facilities will have to be further developed or even completely redesigned for use in offshore areas. Operational concepts must be drawn up and models for financing designed. Research and industry often require data, as a basis for their work, which is either not yet available or available only in insufficient quantity and quality.
Future research conducted on FINO3 will revolve around the technological and ecological challenges associated with wind power in offshore areas. In order to accomplish this, seven research and technology projects of a number of institutions of higher education and companies will form the core activities on the platform. Small and medium-sized enterprises and institutions of higher education and research will also be afforded the opportunity to carry out their own, offshore-related research, development or test projects. FuE-Zentrum FH Kiel GmbH will be responsible for the project.
In contrast to the development of offshore wind power in other European countries, only deep-water sites in remote locations off the coast are eligible for such undertakings in Germany. However, at an international level, experience in the construction of offshore wind farms under such conditions is thus far not available. FINO3 research projects are expected to generate new and useful results with regard to foundation structures, wind and wave loads, lightning intensity and a number of other offshore-related parameters. This gives the FINO3 project enormous potential to promote the expansion of offshore wind power generation in Schleswig-Holstein.