Vertical wind farms – low but high output

Vertical wind farms – low but high output

Today, offshore wind farms are dominated by large masts with three-pointed banners and a horizontal axis of rotation, which exceed 250 meters in height at the top dead center and have an output of about 15 MW. In the future, however, they may be replaced by smaller, more powerful wind turbines, whose turbines will have a vertical axis of rotation.

Manufacturers place their bet on vertical rotors for two main advantages. The first is a simple design and a low center of gravity of the whole device, so all moving parts and electrical systems are accessible from the surface of the water, significantly reducing maintenance costs.

The second is the calculations according to which parks that include vertical turbines will have the highest efficiency. A major problem with conventional wind farms with multiple masts in multiple rows is the efficiency in the back rows, which. due to turbulence from the first layer of formation drops in large quantities. Vertical axis turbines produce less turbulence and in some cases even increase the efficiency of adjacent turbines.

Swedish wind turbine manufacturer SeaTwirl received approval earlier this year to go offshore about 700 meters from the former Boknafjorden fish farm on Norway’s southeastern tip. in testing such a revolutionary wind turbine. The SeaTwirl S2X 1 MW vertical axis floating prototype has a diameter of 50 meters, a rotor blade length of 40 meters and a sufficient working depth of 100 meters.

A similar project was also announced by the large international energy and metallurgical company Hydro in collaboration with the Norwegian company WorldWideWind. Their turbine has two bladed shafts that rotate side to side; in the upper part at, in the middle in the opposite direction.

This design, similar to the placement of propeller blades on some helicopters and airplanes, can prevent the blades from tilting, eliminate air circulation at their tips and improve overall efficiency. While the current large wind turbines typically have an output of 16 MW, WorldWideWind claims that a vertical device can have a power of up to 40 MW.

Although horizontal wind turbines have the mentioned advantages, only a few companies in the world are engaged in their development. The main reason is the crisis that wind turbine manufacturers and suppliers of their components are currently facing.

As a result of geopolitical tension and inflation, according to the Global Wind Market Services analysis, there has been unprecedented disruption of supply chains and significant cost increases, especially for specialized equipment for large components of large wind turbines. . Losses for Western wind power producers reached billions of euros last year.

Still, analysts expect that though the growth of the wind energy marketwhich has doubled over the last ten years, will decrease, but still grow at a rate of 6.4% per year between 2023 and 2031representing new plants each year with a total capacity of approximately 139 GW.

source: press release