- Norwegian-based Wind Catching Systems (WCS) recently unveiled its 324m tall, floating wind turbine array called “Wind Catcher”.
- The company claims that their new wind turbine configuration could generate five times the annual energy of the world’s biggest standalone wind turbines.
The Wind Catcher does not rely on a huge rotor, but instead clusters 117 small rotors in a 300 meter high scaffold frame. The frame sits upon a large floating platform that would be moored to the seafloor when deployed in real life using existing practices mastered by the oil and gas industry for their offshore platforms.
According to WCS, just one of its Wind Catcher systems would have over double (2.5 times) the swept area of the world’s biggest wind turbine, the 15MW Vestas V236. Owing to its smaller turbine blades, WCS’ system should also perform much better in higher wind speeds over 25 mph (11-12 m/s), the company claims.
This also means you could get the same, or similar, “bang for your buck” with fewer Wind Catcher turbines than conventional ones. At these higher wind speeds, larger, more conventional setups, tend to need to pitch their blades to avoid mechanical damage. This should mean that, according to WCS, Wind Catcher could provide a 500% boost in annual energy output – enough to power 80,000 homes with a single array.
The company goes further by claiming that their system should benefit from a 50-year service life, as oppose to the 30-years, or so, of more conventional wind turbines.
WCS has financial backing from investment companies like North Energy and Ferd and has developed the technology in conjunction with offshore wind supplier Aibel and the IFE Institute for Energy Technology.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal