Floating Offshore Turbines Can Reduce Wind Energy Cost

Texas leads the U.S. in energy production with a combination of conventional and alternative energy sources. The state also produces the most wind power of any state in the nation, but with a growing population, there is a demand for more resources of renewable energy. A new design of floating offshore turbines that is being developed by scientists at Texas A&M University may be a cost-effective answer to that challenge.

Typical land-based wind turbines have blades diameters exceeding the wing span of a 747 jet plane. Offshore wind turbine structures can be even larger and are rigidly attached to the sea floor. Near the coast; however, these very large structures can interfere with the ocean view.

Dr. Bert Sweetman, associate professor of Maritime Systems Engineering Texas A&M University at Galveston is studying a new type of structural designs that enable substantial reductions in cost, with only minimal decrease in the amount of electricity generated. Sweetman describes the engineering challenges involved constructing offshore turbines.