Global research consortium aims to design floating wind turbine

The Technical University of Denmark and its international partners aim to develop floating wind turbines capable of producing at least 20 megawatts of power each through a four-year initiative called DeepWind.

Studies show floating structures are more economically feasible for water depths exceeding 30 meters to 60 meters than current offshore technology. Floating wind turbines can also allow installation of offshore wind turbines near large cities with deep-water coastlines.

“DeepWind is a challenging and sound project. This project goes beyond a technology transfer from onshore vertical wind turbine generation and constitutes a radical upgrade of existing technologies and would constitute a real breakthrough in the energy sector,” said Henrik Bindslev, director of the university’s National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy.

The DeepWind project is funded by a 3 million euro ($4.05 million) grant from the European Seventh Framework Programme for emerging technologies.

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“Our objective is to develop more cost-effective megawatt wind turbines through dedicated technology rather than advancing existing concepts that are based on onshore technology being transported to the sea environment,” said DeepWind project manager Uwe Schmidt Paulsen.

The project aims to demonstrate a kilowatt-sized wind turbine to be located in the open waters of Roskilde Fjord. Experiments will be conducted and simulation tools will be developed to design a 5-MW concept and evaluate the prospects of a future 20-MW turbine.

DeepWind will combine a vertical-axis wind turbine, advanced blade technology, full power transmission and control and rotating and floating offshore substructure.

The basis for the vertical-axis wind turbine is the Darrieus design, which includes a direct drive megawatt-level generator with its electronic control system at the bottom of the subsea shaft, along with the electrical power transmission cables.

Currently, offshore wind technology tends to be more expensive than onshore wind technology. A new wind turbine concept developed specifically for offshore applications has potential for better cost efficiency than existing offshore technology.

 

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