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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

World's Biggest Wind Turbine Generates 10 MW And It Floats!

by Jerry James Stone, San Francisco, CA


Photo courtesy of Trends Updates (this is not a picture of the actual turbine)

In an attempt to make offshore wind farms more profitable, Norway plans to build the world's largest turbine standing 533 feet tall with a rotor diameter of 475 feet. It will also be the most powerful by generating 10-megawatts to power over 2,000 homes, making it three times more powerful than current turbines.

"We are aiming to install it in 2011," said Enova's head of new technology, Kjell Olav Skoelsvik. The prototype will cost $67.5 million to build and Enova's committed to $23 million of it.

The power gain comes from reducing the weight and number of moving parts in the turbine--it uses a gearless generator system.

It will be built by the Norwegian company Sway and tested first on land in Oeygarden, southwestern Norway. Unlike most offshore wind projects where turbines rest on the seafloor, Sway turbines float. This means further offshore development where winds are stronger and more consistent.

The floating tower is a pole filled with ballast beneath the water creating low center of gravity. Anchored to the seabed with a single pipe and a suction anchor, it can tilt 5-8°, and turn around with the wind.

The Scandinavian country is one of the world's top oil and gas producers but obtains most of its own energy through hydroelectric power. Hopefully this turbine can give offshore farms the revolution they deserve.

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Source: Grist