THeoREM and HydroQuest working together on the WindQuest wind turbine project

Developing technologies tailored to conditions of the marine environment requires a lot of testing. For its vertical-axis floating wind turbine project, HydroQuest is making use of the offshore and tank test facilities within the THeoREM research infrastructure. A partnership with benefits for both parties!

on September 10, 2019

Brest, home of innovative floating wind projects

Jean-François Simon, CEO of HydroQuest, explains that his Grenoble-based SME is working to develop and market breakthrough technologies in the field of renewable electricity generation. It already develops and sells river and marine turbines. Among its recent successes was the installation in May of a 1MW marine turbine on the EDF site at Paimpol-Bréhat. When the company wanted to diversify and develop a new floating wind project called WindQuest, it identified Brest as the ideal place to test its machines and get them ready for the market. As for the WindQuest project, Jean-François Simon confirms he has “found in Ifremer’s teams a strong resonance with what we wanted to develop, a real desire to take these technologies forward.”

A special partnership bringing shared benefits

The partnership is taking shape in part via a PhD research position with CIFRe grant funding, which began 6 months ago. The first phase of testing is taking place in Ifremer's deep water wave tank, to experimentally validate the behaviour and performance of the wind turbine and then to develop the control system of the future demonstration model, which will then be tested for over a year at the Sainte-Anne-du-Portzic offshore test site.

Besides its access to THeoREM test facilities, HydroQuest is benefitting from the expertise of researchers at the Ifremer Hydrodynamics Laboratory, who spend time solving problems related to the behaviour of floating objects in the ocean and marine indispensable asset for the company for which this is new territory.

Promoting innovation in the maritime world is part and parcel of Ifremer's mission. But Jean-Marc Daniel, joint head of the THeoREM National Research Infrastructure, says: "Contact with these companies is very rewarding for our researchers. The enthusiasm of these highly motivated entrepreneurs is highly infectious." It may also lead to new lines of research for Ifremer's teams.

THeoREM and Ifremer supporting innovation

THeoREM, which is jointly operated by Ifremer and Centrale Nantes, is nationally certified by the Ministry of Research as ‘research infrastructure’.

Grouping together complementary resources increases the visibility of all parties at European level, and provides customers with a broad spectrum of wave, current and wind conditions at different depths, from test tank to open sea.

Such infrastructure requires heavy investment to serve a community of researchers and companies, thus promoting economic development in the region. Use of the Brest test tank is split: 30% on MRE research activities, 30% on instrument calibration for various applications (study of climate change, fishing, coastal monitoring, etc.), and 30% on external services for local industry. The tank is also available for teaching activities, including to engineering schools for practical and tutorial classes in hydrodynamics, as part of the CPER Ijinmor project.

Companies can call on Ifremer's teams for consulting activities, for example tests on an existing concept with the chosen configurations. Or they can engage in research collaboration, as HydroQuest has done, following in the footsteps of GEPS Techno and Eolink, to name but a few in the MRE field.

Campus mondiale de la mer develops access to research infrastructure

The THeoREM infrastructure is listed in the Marine research infrastructure and facilities portal, launched in 2018 by the Campus mondial de la mer. This portal offers all types of organisations (research, business, support organisations) and entrepreneurs an overview of the potential for collaboration and service provision in the field of marine science and technology in western Brittany.


  • Jean-François Simon, CEO HydroQuest /
  • Benoit Augier, Ifremer, Brest tank / / +33 (0)2 98 22 47 14
  • M Répécaud, Ifremer, Ste Anne du Portzic offshore test site / / +33 (0)2 98 22 41 76
  • Alice Vanhoutte-Brunier, Campus mondial de la mer / / + 33 (0)2 98 05 79 33
photo: IFREMER
Published on September 11, 2019 Updated on March 19, 2021