European research into offshore wind turbine design will turn this year to experiments, in coastal waters off Dunkirk in France and Cowden in the UK, using large-dimension steel piles under lateral load. The results will be used to develop a prototype for a new type of offshore wind turbine foundation.

NLMK DanSteel A/S, part of NLMK Europe Plate (Denmark’s only manufacturer of plates) has joined the research effort alongside other Danish participants, Dong Energy and Bladt Industries A/S.

The research is being carried out by the UK Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator programme (OWA) and will aim to reduce the cost of wind energy and promote offshore wind generation.

Other participants from the Danish side are DONG Energy and Bladt Industries A/S, manufacturer of foundations for turbines. The research project is being carried out by the UK Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator programme (OWA), aimed at promoting offshore wind generation and reducing the cost and weight of wind energy.

NLMK DanSteel will supply the research programme with thick plates of special dimensions made from high-strength steel to be made into piles used in the foundations for new-generation turbines.

Igor Sarkits, CEO of NLMK Europe Plate, said, “We view this segment as the most prospective and strategically important not only in terms of business development, but also as part of NLMK Group’s policy aimed at promoting advanced environmental technologies.”

In Denmark, 28% of electric power is generated by wind turbines. The Danish Government plans to increase this to 50% by 2020 and to 100% by 2050.

• NLMK Europe Plate Products Division is owned by the Russian NLMK Group, one of the world’s largest steel producers. NLMK DanSteel A/S has a total capacity of 700kt and produces a wide range of high quality thick plates for wind turbines, drilling platforms, ships, ‘yellow goods’ manufacturers and infrastructures, primarily for the Northern European market. The facility has a workforce of approximately 370 employees.