A monstrous floating multiturbine to supply 80,000 households: this is how a Norwegian company wants to revolutionize offshore wind power
While the debate around nuclear power plants heats up (especially in Spain), the race towards the “green transition” continues and companies and specialists in the production of energy from renewable sources continue to try to evolve already widespread solutions such as wind power. In this area, the project of floating multiturbine which seeks to increase energy production considerably compared to traditional turbines.
It is a project of the Norwegian company Wind Catching Systems, whose name is a declaration of intent considering that the current turbines are something of the past. At least in the form factor in which they abound both on land and at sea, according to the CEO of this company.
Redesign what has proven to be competent
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the current offshore wind installations nearby, or perhaps as the writer you have seen them with a mixture of curiosity and fascination when flying through areas such as the Danish coast, where you can see the turbines that they are usually seen on hills peeking out of the sea. That is to say, the idea of wind power in turbines at sea is not new far from it, and there are countries that plan to resort to it to the beast, such as the United Kingdom.
Speaking of floating wind turbines, the idea is not strictly new. Here, for example, we saw the X1 Wind approach, developed in Barcelona, or the strictly floating one (in the air) of Altaeros Energies. And the idea of the Norwegians is somewhat different, although no less ambitious.
It’s about unifying more than 100 1 MW turbines to achieve an efficiency of up to five times that of the largest current turbine, as reported in Wind Catching Systems. Its rationale, as they explain, is that with a conventional turbine energy production is limited on a wind of 11-12 meters / second because the blades begin to pitch, and that the multiturbine is able to take advantage of those higher speeds by having more blades. short.
Hence they calculate an annual energy production of 2.5 times that of a normal turbine, although these are of about 15 MW (and those of the multiturbine of 1 MW). Their calculation is that five floating multiturbines will be able to produce the same electricity as 25 conventional turbines.
With this, the promise is that each floating multiturbine will give enough energy to to supply 80,000 homes in one year. Also that, despite being in the middle of the ocean, supporting those strong winds, waves and storms, they would last up to 50 years and have a lower maintenance cost than current floating systems.
Multiturbines will measure about 305 meters high, more or less three times the height of a current standard turbine, and will be located on floating platforms anchored to the sea floor. The advantage of floating and not requiring installation, beyond the theoretical costs, is that its installation and maintenance does not require that they be built at most about 30 kilometers from the coast, so that the most powerful ocean winds would be used ( away from the coast).
Ole Heggheim, CEO of Wind Catching Systems, pointed out that the installation projected by his company is less expensive to build, 80% less, than the current floating wind platforms. Ronny Karlsen, CFO, explained that the design incorporates an elevator system for maintenance and that it is designed so that if a blade has to be changed or repaired, only one turbine has to be stopped, not the 126 of an installation.
The idea is that the materials can be re-use, for example, when removing a multiturbine. Or recycle blades, since aluminum will be used and not fiberglass and carbon as in current turbines (which is a problem in terms of waste management), and the CEO speaks in FastCompany of something so simple like melting the old to create new.
Heggheim points to 2022 from 2023 to see the floating multi-turbine work, which would have taken less time to build it than according to the CEO it takes to start up a floating wind platform of the current ones. Obviously, everything exposed by the data of the company is favorable, but it will be necessary to see if in reality everything is so advantageous once it is started.
As we said, there are precedents like Hywind, in Scotland. The first floating wind power installation that has self-surpassed its production record, reaching according to its data up to 80.00-100,000 MW under very favorable conditionsTherefore, if the multiturbine structure complies, it may reach the promised goal.
Another aspect is that of the promise of less expensive maintenance, in effort and investment. On the one hand, the expensive installation in the sea of a standard turbine is avoided as it is floating, but on the other there are those strong winds that you want to take advantage of, which are also a handicap against any possible repair. We will be aware of its start-up, especially if it ends up being a more convenient alternative to obtain energy at the level of efficiency and environmental impact.
Imágenes | Wind Catching Systems