A Norwegian company has designed a floating wind farm that uses smaller, stacked rotors to generate greater energy than fixed systems
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Spotted: Norwegian company Wind Catching Systems is developing a floating offshore wind farm, called Windcatcher, that will stand nearly 300 metres high – about the same as the Eiffel Tower. The system would be made up of more than one hundred turbines stacked in a framework. It could produce enough power for 80,000 homes.
Most offshore wind turbines are designed to be placed on fixed foundations in shallow water. However, while floating turbines can harness greater energy from the high winds that occur farther out to sea, their huge blades tend to max out at wind speeds of around 11 metres a second.
The Windcatcher gets around this by using a larger number of smaller blades. These are not only capable of harnessing faster winds, but can also make more rotations per minute than larger blades, generating more energy.
Placing the turbines next to each other in the framework also allows the Windcatcher to use the “multirotor effect,” where the turbulence created by each turbine can be harnessed by the surrounding turbines. This also helps to maximise the amount of energy each structure can generate.
Wind Catching Systems CEO Ole Heggheim explained that, “By having one unit producing as much as energy five, you’re saving on four installations and four mooring systems. We can construct our Windcatchers near shore and then tow them into place, whereas for conventional wind turbines you often need to have specialised vessels doing the installation offshore.”
Although offshore wind power is relatively expensive, compared to fossil fuels, new innovations are being developed all the time that aim to bring down the costs. Some of the developments recently covered by Springwise include silent wind turbines and a lightweight, portable wind turbine.
Written By: Lisa Magloff