New wind turbine design promises hitherto unachieved performance values

Wind turbines have become increasingly powerful in recent years. A number of developments have contributed to this. So more powerful turbines were developed. In addition, larger systems are being installed today than in the past. And last but not least, people are increasingly going to places where the wind blows particularly hard, namely at sea. However, the basic design of wind turbines has not changed. Against this background, the Norwegian startup World Wide Wind is planning a revolution, as it were. Because the engineers there have developed wind turbines for offshore systems that have little in common with the classic design. In concrete terms, these are so-called contra-rotating vertical turbines. Simply put, the wind turbine has two rotors. The lower rotor is connected directly to the mast, while the upper one is attached to a shaft that runs inside the mast. This causes the rotors to rotate in opposite directions.

The systems must be up to 400 meters high

On the one hand, this approach should ensure higher electricity production. On the other hand, it is also possible to place the individual wind turbines much closer together. The new design also has the advantage that all heavy components are located in the lower part. This provides better statics and thus facilitates the installation of offshore systems. The innovative design also requires no acceleration. In addition, the wind can be used no matter which direction it comes from. A complex alignment of the system to the current wind direction is therefore not necessary. According to the engineers involved, these two effects mean that fewer maintenance and repair times need to be planned. The performance values ​​communicated by the startup are also impressive. Corresponding systems must be a maximum of 400 meters in size and provide a capacity of 40 MW. In comparison, the currently most powerful wind turbine has a capacity of 16 MW.

The first prototype is planned for 2026

However, it remains to be seen whether there will actually be a revolution in the wind power industry. Because until now there is not much more than the first concept drawings of the engineers. However, independent studies demonstrating the feasibility of the approach have so far been lacking. Nothing is known about testing with smaller prototypes either. After all, in 2026, the first full-scale system is to be built for testing purposes. This must then have a minimum capacity of 3 MW. Even at best, it should be at least until the end of the decade before the new technology can be used commercially and on a large scale. Until then, according to current plans, a second new approach to wind energy should also ensure higher yields: so-called floating wind turbines no longer need to be firmly anchored in the ground and can therefore also be installed in deeper water. Theoretically, wind farms off the coast of California or Japan are also possible.