Massive new wind turbine design produces more energy

A Norwegian company will help Norway achieve its goal of harnessing 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2040 with its new vertical turbines. World Wide Wind claims it has developed a turbine with a maximum output of 40 megawatts. That’s nearly triple the 15 megawatts of what is currently the largest turbine.

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When we think of wind farms, most of us picture towering horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT), with their three huge blades spinning from a horizontal axis. But a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) is aligned with blades that rotate perpendicular to the ground (or sea) and looks more like tree branches. Both types of mills have been around for a while. But so far HAWT has performed better than VAWT.

Related: Virginia Will Soon Have America’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

According to an article on the Energy Follower website last updated in June 2021, “It is not possible to build VAWTs on the large scale we see in HAWT wind farms.”

The article goes on to describe a 360-foot-tall VAWT in Quebec, Canada, once the world’s tallest, whose rotor bearing failed in 1993 and was never repaired. “It has been decommissioned since then, and is now a tourist curiosity. It is highly unlikely that anyone would attempt to build a VAWT larger than this due to the technical problems involved in directly supporting such heavy weights on a single rent.”

In the same month that the naysayers at Energy Follower updated their anti-VAWT article, World Wide Wind founder Stian Valentin Knutsen considered putting two sets of rotor blades on a single turbine mast. He wanted to engineer them to rotate in opposite directions. Knutsen teamed up with electrical engineering professor Hans Bernhoff from Sweden’s Uppsala University to develop this idea.

The resulting wind turbine will not stand straight like a HAWT. Instead, it will lean and absorb wind energy from every conceivable angle. And it could reach a height of 1,312 feet and generate 40 megawatts. It would be much larger than China’s 793-foot specimen, the current winner in the largest turbine competition.

So far it’s theoretical. World Wide Wind has performed many simulations, but a full-scale prototype has yet to arrive. If the Norwegian startup succeeds, Norway could soon be harnessing a hell of a wind.

Via Fast Company, Energy Follower

Lead image via World Wide Wind

William

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