The "Life-cycle assessment of a Renewable Energy multi-purpose Floating Offshore System" - REFOS project proposes the development of a novel concept of deep-offshore multi-purpose energy production system made of steel. The system consists of a triangular platform supported by cylindrical floaters with the Wind Turbine (W/T) mounted at deck’s center and the cylindrical Oscillating Water Column (OWC) devices at its corners. The OWC consists of two concentric cylinders, with the water entering through the subsurface opening into the annular chamber between the two cylinders that contains air. The wave action causes the captured water column to rise and fall like a piston, compressing and decompressing the air. As a result, there is an air flow moving back and forth through an air turbine coupled to an electric generator. The floater is moored with vertical tensioned tendons (TLP type mooring).
Such systems capable of capturing simultaneously wind and wave energy sources have not been constructed yet. In this respect, the proposed concept represents a departure from the classical designs developed so far for the independent offshore wind or wave exploitation offering a breakthrough in offshore renewable energy.
The deliverables consist of an innovative design of a floating platform, for the combined production of wind and wave energy. It is widely recognized that there is a need for such a novel and efficient energy concept and, towards this purpose, the project will have an important (breakthrough) contribution. Apart from proposing this new energy floating platform, the present project will promote its use and applicability at an international level, increasing the competitiveness of European engineering firms, with particular benefits to the European steel industrial sector. The present project will also be important for the renewable energy sector in Europe, given the fact that the need for cost-efficient renewable energy solutions constitutes a major EU target.
Moreover, the project will contribute to the improvement the competitiveness of steel material over the use of other materials (such as composite materials). The results of the steel platform REFOS will provide a framework for the systematic and more reliable exploitation of wind and wave energy, tackling the problem in an integrated life-cycle methodology, allowing for the reduction of energy. This would increase the competitiveness of steel against possible solutions from other materials in the renewable energy market.