The first floating vertical wind turbine is being built off the coast of Norway

The first floating vertical wind turbine is being built off the coast of Norway

In principle, the design of wind turbines goes back to the classic wind turbine. This construction also makes sense on land. However, most of the potential for wind energy is offshore. Because there is more space and the wind blows harder. The problem, however, is that design sometimes becomes an issue here. Due to the blades and the generator, the main weight of the wind turbines is high. The wind turbine is therefore also permanently installed on the seabed in offshore wind farms. This is of course only possible up to a certain water depth. This type of construction is not possible off the coast of California or Japan. Experts, therefore, rely on floating wind turbines. However, this makes the old windmill design no longer ideal because weight distribution becomes a problem. The Swedish company SeaTwirl, therefore, relies on so-called vertical wind turbines.

The center of gravity of the construction is just above the water

No huge rotor blades are set in motion here, but smaller arms ensure that the system rotates around itself. This means that the wind can be used no matter which direction it comes from. Technical solutions to align the rotor blades accordingly can therefore be dispensed with. In addition, the generator can be placed just above the water surface. This also shifts the center of gravity of the construction downwards. So fewer structural efforts need to be made to prevent the floating mill from toppling over. This means: Less material is needed, which reduces costs. And last but not least, the vertical wind turbines significantly reduce turbulence and slipstream. This allows them to be built closer together than their conventional counterparts. So there is much to be said about this new form of a wind turbine on the water.

The output of the first reference system must be 1 MW. to be

There are even some startups working on similar ideas, such as World Wide Wind. But no one should have such a rich experience as SeaTwirl. Because in 2015, the company installed a prototype that has been supplying electricity to the grid continuously ever since. However, with a height of thirteen meters, it is relatively small. A first large-scale reference project is now being built off the coast of Norway. Here the construction would protrude 55 meters above the water. According to the company, this is sufficient for a capacity of 1 MW. Below the surface of the water, the construction also extends eighty meters down. However, it is not connected to the seabed. Instead, the pinwheel is anchored over the side so it can’t just float away. The green electricity generated in this way must also be competitive in terms of price. This must now be proven with the reference system.

 

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