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05 July 2010

Floating ocean wind turbines proposed

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Wind turbines as a renewable energy source have problems of noise, visual clutter and land use, and one U.S. researcher says moving them offshore is a solution.

Offshore wind farms have been built, but only in shallow water near coasts, and one naval architect wants to go much farther out by placing turbines on floating platforms, a release from the American Institute of Physics said Wednesday.

Dominique Roddier of Marine Innovation & Technology of Berkeley, Calif., has proposed a platform design dubbed "WindFloat" based on existing gas and oil platform designs.

Roddier and his and colleagues published a feasibility study of the design in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, published by the AIP.

Testing of a small scale model in a wave tank showed the platform is stable enough to support a 5-megawatt wind turbine producing enough energy "to support a small town," Roddier said.

A full-size prototype being built in collaboration with electricity company Energia de Portugal "should be in the water by the end of 2012," Roddier says.


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