Offshore wind turbines are among the most commonly utilized forms of renewable, carbon-free energy. Because of their relatively low cost and high efficiency, their use is increasing globally. Although made by many manufacturers, wind turbine designs have become fairly standard, consisting of a three-blade turbine mounted on a pole. This design is effective for harnessing wind energy and converting it into electricity, especially when grouped to create wind farms, but a new concept could increase annual power yields by five times.
Fewer Limits And More Power
Wind Catching Systems, based in Norway, is currently developing a new type of wind turbine that consists of over 100 scaled-down blades arrange across a 1000-foot square grid. The floating Wind Catcher system is meant to be anchored to the ocean floor, at depths much greater than traditional offshore farms—as much as 3,000 feet deep.
Floating wind turbine systems can be set up in more remote waters than those that are driven directly into the seabed. In addition to posing a greater threat to wildlife, like shorebirds and marine life, the performance of coastal wind farms is limited by wind speeds that are considerably lower compared to airflow over the open ocean.
Wind Catching Systems’ new turbine design wouldn’t be the first floating system, but it would be the tallest and the most productive. With smaller but more plentiful blades, arranged in a grid that surpasses the height of the Eiffel Tower, Wind Catcher would be easier to manufacture and able to complete many more rotations for the same wind speed. Wind Catcher is also meant to last longer and be easier to maintain compared to the traditional pole-mounted commercial wind turbine. Other improvements include the utilization of recyclable, non-fiberglass materials and a special radar system to detect and deter migrating birds.
Coming Soon To The North Sea?
A prototype of Wind Catcher is expected to be built in the North Sea with a possibility of more systems to be erected far off the coasts of California and Japan where wind activity can offer some of the greatest energy production.
What do you think of this new, multi-turbine, wind-harnessing system? Comment and share your thoughts.
ABOUT Wind Catching Systems
Wind Catching Systems was founded in 2017 by Asbjørn Nes, Arthur Kordt and Ole Heggheim with an ambition to radically improve offshore wind technology. The goal was to build a system that was competitive enough to operate without subsidies.
Inspired by Kai Levander, Heggheim’s former colleague at Aker Yards, they started working on the idea of multi-turbines. The goal was to maximize power generation from a concentrated area. It soon became clear that a multitude of small turbines gave a much better result per area than a big turbine. Easy maintenance, durability and simplicity were the guiding principles when the first Windcatcher was designed as a sail on a trimaran.
One of the defining features of the Windcatcher is the fact that it bypasses the cubic law valid for a single turbine – weight and cost scales with the radius^3 while energy production scales with radius^2. The scaling potential for the Windcatching Technology is phenomenal. This is just the beginning.