10 MW floating wind turbine prototype

State company Enova has allocated 137 million Norwegian kroner (about 17 million euros) for the construction of the largest floating wind turbine designed for offshore wind farms.

This prototype, developed by Sway, has a capacity of 10 MW and is equipped with a rotor having a diameter of 145 metres. wind The turbine will have to be tested onshore for two years before being installed in the North Sea.

Unlike most wind farms which are based directly on the seabed (up to a maximum depth of 60-70 meters) the Sway wind turbines floats and can therefore be installed offshore at depths of several hundred meters.

Enova will provide the Bergen-based company Sway AS with funding in the amount of NOK 137 million to demonstrate a new wind turbine prototype.

The project represents a significant potential reduction in the cost of generating offshore wind power. Enova’s commitment to renewable marine energy will make this project possible.

The funding from Enova will contribute to the construction of a 10 MW wind turbine in Øygarden in Hordaland County, where the new technology will be tested on land over the next two years.

The wind turbine will be the world’s largest of its kind, with a rotor diameter of 145 metres. In cooperation with the Norwegian technology firm Smartmotor AS, Sway has developed the concept with a view towards reducing turbine weight and the number of moving parts, as well as the use of a gearless generator system.

Overall, the concept will result in higher energy generation for offshore wind power, and thus also lower operating costs. As many as 35-40 engineers have taken part in the work to develop the concept that will now undergo testing.

Funding for the project has been provided under Enova’s support program Renewable marine power generation, launched in February 2009.

This implies a substantial difference in terms of generated energy, since in Norway, for example, winds blowing about 50 km off the coast (where depths typically range from 100 up to 300 meters) are approximately 25% stronger and more constant than in areas up to 15 km off the coast, where the largest wind power plants were built up to now.

The buoyancy of the new wind turbine is based on the large internally hollow supporting tower, which extends below the water surface and is filled with ballast, thus having sufficient stability to resist wind loads.

The structure is anchored to the seabed also by means of lateral suction anchors, allowing the tower to tilt a few degrees and to turn around, so as to harness more wind energy from winds, while reducing excessive structural tensions.

According to Sway designers, the wind turbine’s features allow it to be more efficient in terms of production and less costly in terms of operational management.

The system was designed to withstand extreme conditions at sea. Sway guarantees a minimum life span of 20 years and the ability to withstand the impact of a tidal wave of over 30 meters.