An equipe of researchers has developed an offshore wind turbine system that can be completely pre-assembles and pre-commissioned in controlled harbor conditions. The costs of installing the necessary turbines have always been an obstacle to its widespread adoption, especially as regards the offshore wind farms, which require large, high-tech wind turbines to be constructed, and maintained, in oceans themselves.

Thanks to ELISA project, this great obstacle has been finally overcame: this innovation is located in the Canary Islands and the prototype is the first bottom-fixed offshore wind turbine completely installed without the need for costly and scarce heavy-lift vessels. The ELISA prototype uses a gravity-based foundation, which essentially serves as a floating platform from which an automatically telescoping tower complete with wind turbine is anchored. Each unit – platform, tower and turbine – is completely assembled onshore. It is then towed to its open-water site using conventional tugboats, where the platform is secured and the tower raised.

Once tugged into its out-at-sea position, the platform is ballasted to rest on the seabed. Then when secure, the tower is lifted to its final position via cables and conventional heavy-lift strand jacks. These jacks start by lifting one level of the tower, and then are reused to lift the next level, and the next, and so on until fully built.

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