Floating Platform Wind Farm Is Changing The Future of Alternative Energy

Douglas Perry | | BrainsBrains
Artist rendering of a floating turbine. Image: Stat Oil

According to the Huffington Post, for thousands of years, humans have harnessed the wind to power ships on the ocean. Although, when it comes to wind generated electricity, turbines have been confined to being attached to fixed points on the ground and on the shallow seabed. It has been a major restriction, because so much wind is available on the deeper ocean areas.

New technology is emerging out of Scotland by a Norwegian energy company, Statoil, that is about to change the ocean bearing wind turbine industry forever.

Artist rendering of a spar buoy on ocean floor. Image: Tokyo Foundation

Off the coast of Scotland, Statoil has completed a project to produce enough wind generated electricity to power over 20,000 homes. What is different about the Statoil wind farm is that it floats. The structure is not hard fixed to the ocean bed. Instead, it relies on a concept called a “spar buoy”.  A spar buoy is a floating weight or structure that has a large weight attached to the underside of the platform, which adds buoyancy and enough stability to facilitate the wind turbine. This is similar to the bottom of a modern sail boat. The weight prevents the platform from capsizing and flipping over.

Artist rendering of spar buoy configuration. Image: Energy

The floating unit is then attached to the ocean floor with three large anchor chains. The floating turbines are 175M tall and weigh over 11,000 tons. Statoil is also developing a new battery technology called, “Bat Wind,” which will store 1MWh of wind power that can be generated at off peak hours and used as needed. This new wind generated technology from Statoil will have a large impact on the wind farm industry, because wind is so abundant on the ocean; plus, the new technology increases the current depth which electricity can be generated on the ocean to 105M.

Artist rendering of a deep water turbine. Image: Siemans

Wind is abundant on the ocean. According to a Huffington Post Article, it is estimated that wind farms in the North Atlantic have the capacity to provide energy to meet the entire planet’s needs in the winter. In the summer, with less wind, there would still be enough wind to power all of Europe. In the past, wind power was restricted to the ground or shallow seabed for the production of electricity. This new adaptation from Statoil of putting a wind turbine on a floating structure enhanced by a spar buoy will increase the available platforms for the generation of wind electricity. Statoil’s revolutionary technology could substantially increase ocean wind farming production in the future. It’s a game changer.

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