Norwegian company Wind Catching Systems is developing a floating offshore wind power generator that could produce renewable energy for 80,000 homes at prices comparable to traditional fossil fuels.
Named the Windcatcher, the structure would contain more than a hundred rotors stacked vertically within a 300-metre-high framework.
The floating Windcatcher is about as tall as the Eiffel Tower.
The grids will be 1,000 ft tall, reports Asia Times, some three times the height of a typical turbine and nearly matching the Eiffel Tower’s 1,063 feet.
According to the company, one Windcatcher could produce as much energy as five of the strongest floating turbines in existence while halving the price of the energy generated in the process.
Unlike turbines that are placed on fixed foundations in shallow water, floating turbines can harness energy from higher winds that occur above the deep, open sea.
However, due to their huge blades that can measure up to 115 metres long, these floating turbines generally max out at wind speeds of around 11 metres per second.
Wind Catching Systems CEO Ole Heggheim told:”Our goal is to enable offshore wind operators and developers to produce electricity at a cost that competes with other energy sources, without subsidies,”
“At 11 metres per second, the wind has an energy of about 350 watts per square metre,” Heggheim explained.
“And at 17 metres per second, the wind has an energy of 13,000 watts per square metre, so we are harnessing the exponential power of wind.”
Multirotor wind farm by Wind Catching Systems
More than 100 turbines would be suspended within the wind farm’s steel frame
In the Windcatcher, 117 of these smaller turbines would be set within a steel framework and mounted like a sail on a semi-submerged trimaran boat.
The sail would be fixed to a rotating turret, allowing it to turn in the direction of the wind.
By placing the turbines in close proximity, the Windcatcher could make use of the multirotor effect, where the turbulence created by one turbine can be harnessed by the surrounding ones, maximising the amount of energy they can generate.
“There’s a turbulence synergy between rotors,” Heggheim explained. “Ten turbines in a network will produce more than the sum of ten individual turbines.”
In total, one Windcatcher could produce enough energy to power 80,000 households while reducing the amount of surface area taken up in the process by 80 per cent, the company claims.
Under ideal conditions, Wind Catching Systems says the unit could produce up to 400 gigawatt-hours of energy per year compared to the 80 gigawatt-hours generated by individual floating turbines such as the Vestas V236, which is the largest and most powerful on the market.
The price of energy from floating turbines is currently still higher than from other renewable sources, due to the costs associated with installing and maintaining their gigantic rotors and the large, floating substructure that holds them aloft.
But by combining readily available, off-the-shelf technology and stacking multiple rotors on top of a single platform, Heggheim argues the Windcatchers will cost less to produce than individual floating turbines while having a longer lifespan, ultimately lowering the energy price for consumers.
Wind Catching Systems’ main owners are Ferd and North Energy, and it has additional support from the Norwegian government’s R&D fund, Innovation Norway. “The goal is to complete the technical testing and verification during 2021 and to offer commercial development solutions in 2022,” said Erik Bjørstad, investment director at Ferd. “Wind Catching has significant competitive benefits compared to conventional floating offshore wind technologies and we see great opportunities for the Norwegian supplier and export industry.”
The partners hope that by increasing efficiency, cutting acreage use and reducing operating costs, the multi-turbine floating platform will produce electricity at the same price as bottom-fixed installations. According to Rachid Bendriss, investment director at North Energy, the partners see significant commercial opportunities for Wind Catching Systems’ technology in the North Sea, U.S. West Coast and Asian regions.
Wind Catching Systems’ technology has a design life of 50 years, and the partners say that it would cost substantially less to maintain than today’s floating offshore wind systems. By lasting longer before decommissioning, taking up less space, and using its turbines more efficiently, the design could also reduce the environmental impact of installation and operation.
Wind Catching is not the only company that aims to provide alternative solutions to traditional wind turbines. For example, the German company Kitefraft is developing 100 kW flying wind turbines that require 10 times less materials to develop than traditional wind turbines.
Parsaland Trading Company with many activities in the fields of import and export, investment consulting, blockchain consulting, information technology and building construction