Looking like a weapon, Norway World Wide Wind’s new offshore wind turbine design is different from other manufacturers and its floating vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) provides more than double the power generation of the current largest wind turbine.
Today's common offshore and onshore "electric fans" are horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT) which fix heavy components including transmission systems, gearboxes, generators, and huge blades on the top of a tower. Therefore, in order to make the fan stand stable, a underwater foundation or fixed equipment is necessary but if you want to change to a floating design and face surging waves, you will face many challenges.
Therefore, some engineers and operators believe that vertical axis wind turbines can develop in the floating offshore wind market. The shaft of a vertical axis turbine is perpendicular to wind direction and it does not need to face the wind. The mechanical and electrical components are located at the bottom of the fan, which is easier to maintain and repair. However, the performance of the horizontal axis fan is usually better under the same environment and rated power comparison.
However, World Wide Wind's new floating vertical axis wind turbine, contra rotating vertical turbine (CRVT), is designed for offshore wind and large-scale deployments. Its tower has two blade shafts that rotate side by side, with the shaft near the top rotating clockwise and the other one in the middle rotating in the opposite direction. This design can prevent the fan blades from being tilted by movement when they rotate and can also eliminate air swirls at the tip of the blade and improve efficiency. This design is also common in helicopters or airplanes. World Wide Wind said that the fan will also sway with the wind and waves to help reduce turbulent wake under each floating tower, and also help resist violent gusts or waves.
As for the power generation? At present, the wind turbine with the highest single capacity is from China Mingyang Smart Energy, with a height of 242 meters and a rated capacity of 16 MW. However, World Wide Wind has high hopes for its new design, arguing that it will be easier to scale up capacity than other turbines, even up to 400 meters high, with a capacity of up to 40 MW each.
Everything is still in research and development and the team aims to build and test 3 MW models by 2026 and 40 MW large-scale wind turbines as soon as 2029. It's just that the startup didn't provide corroborating research or that it's tested tiny prototypes. It's unclear why the company didn't go with the common Darrieus-style design, where turbine blades connect back to a central shaft at the top and tend to be structurally stronger and more efficient.
Claiming to be in partnership with Sweden's Uppsala University, Sinted, North Wind, Kjeller Vindteknik, Norwegian Energy Partners, and the Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster, World Wide Wind can expect this new design to be developed and built on schedule, ultimately providing energy transition with support.
（Image：World Wide Wind）