Norwegian company Wind Catching Systems is developing a massive offshore wind turbine that can power renewable energy for up to 80,000 households. The project has already secured NOK 22 million ($2.1 million) grant for design and testing, pushing it even closer to reality.
The science and other stuff to know
Named the Windcatcher, the structure will contain 117 rotors stacked vertically within a more than 300-meter-high (984-ft) framework. According to Wind Catching Systems, one Windcatcher could produce as much energy as five of the strongest floating conventional turbines currently in operation while halving the cost of the energy produced.
Unlike wind turbines that are installed on fixed foundations in shallow waters, floating turbines can harness energy from high-speed winds above the deep, open sea. However, due to their massive blade sizes that can reach 115 meters (377 feet), floating turbines can only operate at wind speeds of around 11 meters per second.
The Windcatcher, however, will be more efficient by relying on smaller turbines with 15-meter-long blades, according to Wind Catching Systems. These small blades can perform more rotations per minute and harness higher winds of up to 17 to 18 meters per second. Thus, generating more energy.
“At 11 meters per second, the wind has an energy of about 350 watts per square meter,” Wind Catching Systems CEO Ole Heggheim said in an interview with Dezeen. “At 17 meters per second, the wind has an energy of 13,000 watts per square meter. So we are harnessing the exponential power of the wind.”
Wind Catching Systems’ floating turbine tech will have a design life of 50 years. It’ll also cost substantially less to maintain than conventional floating offshore wind solutions, the company stated in a press release. Moreover, the Windcatcher solves sustainability issues related to the recycling and reuse of turbine blades and carbon emissions from installation and maintenance.
As noted, one Wind Catching unit is five times as efficient as a conventional offshore wind turbine. That means it can produce renewable energy for around 80,000 households.
If all goes to plan, Wind Catching Systems hopes to install the Windcatcher in 2023 for testing and verification. And considering the project has already secured $2.1 million in funding, the futuristic floating turbine could be up and running in no time.