Single floating offshore Windcatcher unit could power 80,000 European homes

While bottom-fixed offshore wind turbines are being built in large parts of the world, floating offshore wind turbines are seen as more demanding.

Norway’s Wind Catching Systems (WCS), in collaboration with Aibel and the Department of Energy Technology, has announced plans to commercialize its groundbreaking Wind Catching technology that they hope will be able to compete with bottom-mounted turbines and other floating concepts.

Windcatcher floating offshore wind turbine array can generate five times the annual energy production of the world’s biggest single turbines while reducing the operating costs. Windcatcher grids stand more than 1000 ft high, deploying multiple smaller turbines in a staggered formation atop a floating platform moored to the ocean floor.

The offshore wind turbine array has double the swept area of a conventional 15 MW wind turbine, and its smaller rotors could perform much better in wind speeds over 11-12 m/s (40 to 43 km/h). The solution aims to cuts land use by more than 80% and increases efficiency, compared to conventional floating offshore wind farms.

According to the company, one Wind Catching unit produces enough electricity for 80,000 European households. Five Wind Catching units can produce the same amount of electricity as 25 conventional turbines. These arrays will have a lifespan of 50 years and will be significantly more cost-effective than current alternatives. At the same time, the technology will solve sustainability problems related to the reuse of turbine blades, fishery resources, and CO2 emissions from installation and maintenance.

The goal is to carry out the technical verification during 2021 and to offer commercial development solutions in 2022.

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