Floating Wind Turbines the Wave of the Future | Promises Clean Power

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Four hundred huge offshore wind turbines are providing onshore customers with enough electricity to power several hundred thousand homes, and nobody standing onshore can see them. The trick? The wind turbines are floating on platforms a hundred miles out to sea, where the winds are strong and steady.

Today’s offshore wind turbines usually stand on towers driven deep into the ocean floor. But that arrangement works only in water depths of about 15 meters or less. Proposed installations are therefore typically close enough to shore to arouse strong public opposition.

Their design calls for a tension leg platform (TLP), a system in which long steel cables, or "tethers," connect the corners of the platform to a concrete-block or other mooring system on the ocean floor. The platform and turbine are thus supported not by an expensive tower but by buoyancy.

According to their analyses, the floater-mounted turbines could work in water depths ranging from 30 to 200 meters. In the Northeast, for example, they could be 50 to 150 kilometers from shore. And the turbine atop each platform could be big — an economic advantage in the wind-farm business.

Ocean assembly of the floating turbines would be prohibitively expensive because of their size: the wind tower is fully 90 meters tall, the rotors about 140 meters in diameter. So the researchers designed them to be assembled onshore — probably at a shipyard — and towed out to sea by a tugboat. To keep each platform stable, cylinders inside it are ballasted with concrete and water. Once on site, the platform is hooked to previously installed tethers. Water is pumped out of the cylinders until the entire assembly lifts up in the water, pulling the tethers taut.

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The tethers allow the floating platforms to move from side to side but not up and down. According to computer simulations, in hurricane conditions the floating platforms — each about 30 meters in diameter — would shift by one to two meters, and the bottom of the turbine blades would remain well above the peak of even the highest wave. The researchers are hoping to reduce the sideways motion further by installing specially designed dampers similar to those used to steady the sway of skyscrapers during high winds and earthquakes.

Solar Powered Wind Turbine | Solar Wind Power Projects | A New Wind Turbine Design | A New Set Of Spinning Solar Blades

Scientists from the University of Liverpool have upgraded an everyday wind turbine with innovative set of spinning solar blades. The entire team, led by Dr. Joe King, unveiled an innovative solution to perplex critics who state wind turbines are useful only while the wind is blowing. Well, their design even doubles the functionality of conventional turbines by integrating photovoltaic technology. The team however faced some problems. There was a real anxiety that the turbines could blind aircraft pilots and anyone living in the vicinity. Besides this, on hot days, the turbines would create lethal solar rays, which could set buildings on fire if concentrated. In order to cope up with such issues, scientists invented a tinted solar panel that does not mirror sunbeams. The team is now resolving on where to install their model solar wind turbine. “We are confident that we could transform the world’s vital renewable energy needs”, said Dr. King.

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However the team has faced problems. Early computer simulations found that the turbine mounted solar panels would cause blinding beams of light to shoot out across the surrounding area. There was a real concern that the turbines could potentially blind aircraft pilots as well as anyone living in the vicinity. Not just that, but on a particularly hot day the turbines would generate ‘lethal’ solar rays that could set buildings on fire if concentrated.

“The last thing we want is for our turbines to cause plane crashes and fires, so we’ve devised a ‘tinted’ solar panel that doesn’t reflect sun beams. Our early prototype looked like a massive disco ball when it is was operational, but our solution now prevents that.”

The team is now deciding where to install their prototype solar wind turbine. “Due to the poor amount of sunlight in the UK, we’re definitely looking abroad,” Dr. King said. “Personally I believe an ideal place would be Ireland. It’s close by, has strong winds, wonderful summers, plus my family live there so I can go visit!” Expect the solar wind turbine, dubbed the “Heat Waver”, to be set for a summer installation in a few months. “We still have several tests to run,” Dr. King said, “but we are confident we can transform the world’s renewable energy needs. Just think what our turbines could do in countries like Australia.”