Protecting floating windmills

3D view control unit to power 30 transducers (courtesy GTV)

Multiple transducers on 1 object

HDS80 (8transducers)


Shipsonic is preparing a project to protect floating windmills against marine fouling. That involves installing a large number of transducers. Our biggest system powers 8 transducers, and our heaviest transducers are 120 Watt. But for this application even that is not enough. We need something bigger.




Available continental shelve

Cross-cut of a continental shelf profile

The continental shelf



Most of the European continental shelve, where windmills on pylons can be situated, has been contracted out. However, there are parts of the continental shelve, where the sea is too deep to put windmills on pylons, but where it is still possible to anchor floating windmills. Such a floating windmill is comparable to a huge fishing float,  kept in place by long chains. Of course, this setup is only considered for rather windy parts, like off the Northern cost of Scotland.


The challenge

Imagine the design of such a structure. Especially the part of it that is under the water surface. This consists of the floating body, which is normally enhanced by  stabilizing extensions. Together big enough to support the entire windmill itself. All has been designed such, that the whole thing floats at a certain, predetermined depth. This results in huge surfaces under water. If these surfaces start getting fouled, especially with mussel and barnacles, the weight will increase dramatically. So much so that the entire structure will start to sink deeper, jeopardizing its functioning. Hence the importance of an anti-fouling system.


The anti-fouling solution

Design of a control unit to power 30 transducers

Design of a control unit to power 30 transducers (courtesy GTV)


Front view control unit to power 30 transducers

Front view control unit to power 30 transducers (courtesy GTV)


For this, we are designing a system of control units that can power up to 25 or 30 transducers, with integrated cooling and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). We do this together with GTV Den Bosch. We intend to use our heaviest transducer model, the 120 Watt. Trial and error has to give us information about the distance between the transducers to be installed on the structure. To sort this out, we hope to make use of our new signal strength tester and insights to be gained from our research programme with HZ Vlissingen and NIOZ.

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