Unique Floating Wind Turbine Set for Middle East Debut


The Middle East might soon be home to a unique floating wind turbine project led by a group of European companies. 

Namely, unlike the other floating wind projects currently developed or being worked on, aimed purely at producing electricity, this project, named Floating WINDdesal (FWD) is envisioned as "floating water utility," to be used to make seawater into potable water for coastal regions.

The project, led by German-based SYNLIFT Industrial Products (SIP), consists of a seawater desalination plant and a wind turbine, both supported by a floating semi-submersible structure.

The FWD development is carried out and supported by a European industry initiative with the participation of system partners (thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, CRIST Shipyard, SYNLIFT Industrial Products) as well as technology partners (Prysmian Group, Boll & Kirch Filterbau, AEROVIDE, StoGda Ship Design & Engineering, EMS Maritime Offshore).

Both project management and general planning lie with the Potsdam-based company SYNLIFT Industrial Products (SIP), which specializes in the field of seawater desalination powered by renewable energies. 

Installation 'most probably' in the Middle East 

"A first FWD project implementation – most probably in the Middle East – is to begin this year. Through the innovative combination of flexible processing, integrated energy and load management and extra-long blade wind technology, FWD seawater desalination is almost entirely powered by wind energy," SYNLIFT Industrial Products said in a press statement sent to Offshore Engineer. The company did not say where exactly in the Middle East it is planning to deploy the turbine.

With three module sizes in preparation, the daily water treatment capacity of what SYNLIFT says is an eco-water-utility is 15,000, 30,000 or 50,000 m3 per day. The largest FWD module can provide drinking water for up to half a million people, SYNLIFT says.

Applying the semi-submersible technology – originally developed for deep-sea oil drilling and today increasingly also used for offshore wind energy – locations with greater water depths can also be activated cost-effectively for FWD with a minimized impact of seawater desalination on the maritime and terrestrial environment, the company explains.Credit: SIP

The floating utility solution is easy to mobilize at short notice, ideal for emergencies and any kind of temporary mission. 

According to the head of the Floating WINDdesal project, Joachim Käufler (SIP), it also offers an additional potential:

„Our floating utility unit is ‚mobile’. If necessary, the entire plant can be relocated by sea. As a result of that, requirement for customers to provide securities and guarantees – indispensable for the longterm operation of stationary onshore desalination plants – is significantly reduced or, at best, not required at all. FWD is therefore intended to enable sustainable and cost-effective seawater desalination even in locations where conventional desalination could not be financed.” 

Floating WINDdesal combines the aspects of security of supply, sustainability, flexibility and cost efficiency and therefore provides a consistent answer to one of the central challenges of our time - supplying clean drinking water under growing climate and demographic pressure.

Below are the project partners, and their respective  responsibilities, as shared by SIP:

Technology & Project Development: SYNLIFT Industrial Products (Germany)

Plant Manufacturing / Process: thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (Germany)
Plant Manufacturing / MarineCRIST Shipyard (Poland)

Technology Partners (Components):
Submarine Cabling: NSW / Prysmian Group (Germany)
Fine Filtration: Boll & Kirch Filterbau (Germany)
Technology Partners: (Services):
Wind Turbine Design: AEROVIDE (Germany)
Floater Design: StoGda Ship Design & Engineering (Poland)
Marine Services: EMS Maritime Offshore (Germany)

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