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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

News from Renewable Energy Focus

Here is an interesting story featured on Renewable Energy Focus, a very interesting an informative renewable energy website which is well worth a visit (see link).
According to the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) offshore wind turbines could be sited in deep water off the British coast using floating foundations. These would be floating, tension-legged platforms located in areas of depth 70-300m. A feasibility study looking into this project was carried out by a consortium consisting of Blue H, BAE Systems, the Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture (CEFAS), EDF, Romax Technology Ltd, SLP Energy and PAFA Consulting Engineers.
ETI CEO Dr David Clarke stated that although there is a view that the cost of foundations increases with the depth of water, the wind speeds are significantly stronger and more consistent thereby resulting in a higher and more reliable energy output. This then outweights the initial foundation costs.
Project Deepwater is one of the ETI's first offshore wind projects along with Nova and Helm Wind. The Nova project is looking at using a vertical axis wind turbine and Helm Wind is assessing a complete design system for an offshore wind turbine array including installation, design, aerodynamics, electrical systems, control and maintenance.

For those not familiar with the terminology in this article, this is an explanation of a tension-leg platform:

Basically the platform is kept afloat by a buoyant hull which is then moored to the sea bed by clusters of tight tendons known as tension legs. This allows for flexibility with horizontal wave movement but does not allow vertical movement or bobbing. This is why TLP's are popular in hurricane-prone areas such as the Gulf of Mexico.

A vertical axis wind turbine is one on which the rotor blades are set vertically rather than set horizontally as per the 'windmill' type of wind turbine.

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