A 750-meter-long floating wind farm with living space could harness energy from places too deep and seabed conditions too difficult for bottom-mounted wind development. Hexicon, a Swedish design and engineering company, says its wind-farm design will use a centralized turret mooring system that lets a platform and its turbines automatically align to the wind. The company says the system becomes increasingly competitive at depths greater than 40 meters.
Although designs will vary depending on site, one shows the platform supporting twenty-four 3-MW turbines. Of those, 13 encounter clean wind at all times. The aft turbines experience a wind velocity deficit of 10 to 35%, but still enough wind to justify their presence, Hexicon says. A quick-release system allows moving the platform with integrated thrusters, reducing political and commercial risk. The size and stability of the platform results in a competitive cost structure, the company says, and on-board crew will limit downtime.
Wind tunnel and wave basin testing is scheduled for later this year. If the platform completes development, the island nation of Malta may be the first to benefit. According to estimates, one Hexicon platform could supply the nation with 10% of its electricity needs, meeting EU renewable energy standards –all at potentially less cost than fossil fuels. Power generation on islands, usually by diesel generators, has always been an expensive proposition. WPE
Filed Under: Turbines