PSM system keeps wind power platforms stable

Ideol’s Floatgen Ideol’s Floatgen has a PLC panel to keep out seawater. Credit: Ideol

PSM Instrumentation has developed a detection and control system for monitoring and warning of water entry into the dry area compartments of a 2MW floating wind turbine demonstrator that is believed to be the first of its kind.

Ideol’s Floatgen has a turbine base with 16 separate compartments, all equipped with four PSM BLS9200 bilge/food detection switches, which are connected to a PSM acquisition module. This in turn is connected via a multi-drop network to a central PLC panel. If any seawater entry is detected, the PLC will ensure the appropriate valve is opened and will send a control signal to run the relevant drainage pump.

Mark Jones of PSM commented: “This solution sees the expansion of our detection and control systems into a new area and was specifically tailored to the client’s needs for a new type of wind turbine. Leading to, we hope, many more being built in the future as the focus on wind-powered energy generation intensifies.”

Remote control

The system operates fully independently, but the status of all the switches, valves and pumps is controllable through the platform’s remote SCADA system.

Floatgen’s design doesn’t require mounting to the seabed, so wind turbines can be sited further offshore for less visual impact. Being sited further out means turbines benefits from higher winds and greater power generation possibilities.

Built around a European consortium of seven partners with EU support, Floatgen is installed off the coast of Le Croisic on the offshore experimentation site of the Ecole Centrale de Nantes and is undergoing a commercial trial period as France's first offshore wind turbine. 5000 inhabitants are currently supplied with its electricity.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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