New Type of Floating Wind Turbines to Be Tested in Norway

A Norwegian company is set to test a new type of offshore wind turbine. These floating wind turbines employ vertical-axis turbines that rotate in opposite directions. According to the manufacturer, this technology could potentially enable the creation of wind turbines measuring 400 meters in height.

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Norwegian company World Wide Wind (WWW) has just announced the commencement of tests for its first prototype of a counter-rotating floating wind turbine. This innovative technology could eventually allow for the installation of floating wind farms in the sea, with each turbine standing at 400 meters ( (1,312 ft) in height and producing 40 megawatts, double the capacity of the largest current wind turbines.

In contrast to conventional wind turbines, which use a horizontal-axis propeller, WWW’s design features a vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT). Its design is rather unusual, utilizing two turbines, each with three blades, rotating in opposite directions. The one at the top is connected to the rotor, while the lower turbine is connected to the stator, effectively doubling the relative rotation speed.

Norwegian company World Wide Wind (WWW)
WWW claims its bottom-heavy, tilting, contra-rotating coaxial turbines solve offshore wind’s scale limitations, and will grow to 400 m high, with a 40 MW capacity.

The blades are fixed at a 45-degree angle to the vertical axis, which reduces tip speed and wake effect, allowing for closer placement of the turbines. This design is expected to have a reduced impact on local wildlife. The generator is located at the bottom, underwater, serving as a counterweight to prevent the wind turbine from tipping or flipping due to wind forces. This simple design is aimed at reducing production costs, with the company aiming for a Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of $50 per megawatt-hour.

The initial prototype, standing at 19 meters in height, is limited to a production capacity of 30 kilowatts. However, this marks the first full-scale test. WWW plans to test a larger second prototype capable of generating 1.5 megawatts in 2025 and hopes to commercialize a 24-megawatt model by 2030.