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Offshore wind and ocean energy development

Offshore wind and ocean energies represent an emerging - yet hitherto little exploited - alternative in the field of renewable energies.

IFPEN’s research in this area is aimed at providing technological solutions for the development of fixed and floating wind power technology and wave energy, the ultimate objective being to reduce the cost of the electricity produced.

What sets IFPEN apart is the fact that it is active throughout the value chain, from resource evaluation through to the design of the floater.


Designing and dimensioning floating wind turbines

IFPEN’s research is currently focusing on the development of a floater and anchoring concept adapted to high-power floating offshore wind turbines.

A range of simple, low-cost floaters that can be used in shallow waters has been developed, suitable for different turbine powers and technologies. A partnership agreement has also been signed with an industrial player concerning the development of an offer, within the context of the “Floating wind turbine pilot farms” call for projects launched by ADEME (French Investments for the Future, “Demonstrators for the energy transition” program). IFPEN is contributing its expertise in the coupled analysis of floating wind turbine behavior.

IFPEN is also participating in the ADEME's Vertiwind project concerning the development of vertical axis wind turbine technology.

Finally, in 2015, IFPEN became coordinator of the European FP7 Inflow project. The objective is to develop a floating offshore wind turbine prototype based on concepts emerging from the Vertiwind project.


Custom technologies to harness offshore wind and ocean energies

Several technological building blocks are required to exploit the potential of offshore wind and ocean energies. The research conducted by IFPEN has already led to the development of innovative solutions. Among them, the Wise-Lidar software, available in SaaS (Software as a Service) mode and developed in partnership with Leosphere, improves the processing of data obtained using Lidar, a sensor that measures wind speed via laser interferometry. Wise-Lidar reduces uncertainties relating to the measurement of wind strength by between 5 and 10%.

                    Improvement of the information transmitted by Lidar technology
              thanks to Wise-Lidar software, developed by IFPEN with Leosphere.

At the same time, IFPEN is working on an integrated wind turbine control offer and proposing a first version of Wise-Control, a software solution developed in partnership with Avent Lidar Technology, capable of estimating the wind field in real time and orientating the blades accordingly in order to reduce the mechanical stresses and increase the lifespan of turbines by between 5 and 10 years. IFPEN and Avent Lidar Technology are working alongside Maia Eolis and several laboratories within the ANR SmartEole project to validate the performance of their command control system on a land-based wind farm.


IFPEN has also developed a tool to perfect the design of floating wind turbines.

Principia, one of IFPEN’s partners, has been marketing this software since 2015 under the name of DeepLines® Wind.
It is used to simulate, in their environment, fixed-bottom and floating wind turbines, with vertical or horizontal axis, with a view to optimizing their design and reducing costs.

Computer-generated image of a floating offshore wind turbine created using DeepLines Wind software, developed by IFPEN with Principia.


Lastly in 2015, as a representative of France with the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs, IFPEN hosted the IEA-Wind executive committee, bringing together 23 member countries and organizations.


Pooling strengths

The technological challenges that need to be overcome to fully harness offshore wind energy require a pooling of efforts.
Hence, for example, IFPEN is working with Principia to develop software for wind turbine dimensioning and with Avent Lidar Technology to develop a wind turbine control solution based on lidar.
A partner of Maia Eolis in the ANR SmartEole project, it is also teaming up with EDF Énergies Nouvelles and Nenuphar in the ADEME Vertiwind project. In addition, it has joined the executive committee of the IEA-Wind program, following France's membership in 2014.

Finally, IFPEN’s ocean energy research is conducted within the context of an excellence network including industrial and academic partners. In particular, this network includes the partners of ANCRE* and the French Institute for the Energy Transition France Energies Marines.

* French National Alliance for Energy Research Coordination.


+ News stream... >  Offshore wind power and marine energies - A new sector for IFPEN

Inventing floating offshore wind turbines by Daniel Averbuch Ocean Energy Program Manager and Eric Heintzé Director of Applied Mechanics Research Division

+ Industrial development > Offshore wind and ocean energies

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“Leosphere began working with IFPEN in 2014 on the development of a new turbulence measurement range for the wind energy sector, using our Windcube lidar system.

The shared vision and complementary approach of the scientific and technical teams enabled us to come up with a marketable solution in less than two years. It is currently being tested with pilot customers. This first phase should lead to our technology being brought to market, rewarding all the hard work of our scientists involved in this ambitious project.”

David Pepy, Marketing & Sales Director, Leosphere

Key figure

Patents filed by IFPEN in the field of ocean energies between 2012 and 2015.

Panorama 2012

" Sea and energy - What role can marine resources play in the energy mix?"
> Technical Reports available to download