Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Different Wind Turbine Design: The Aerogenerator

An innovative British design, allegedly based on a spinning sycamore seed, or perhaps a leaf, has joined the contest to achieve 10MW output from a single offshore turbine.

Artist depiction of Aerogenerator pffshore wind turbine
The Aerogenerator--the future of offshore wind energy?

The device measure 900 feet from tip to tip.
[It] has two enormous arms that extend from the base of the structure in a V-formation, each equipped with sails along their length that act like aerofoils to generate lift and cause the structure to turn at about three revolutions per minute.
One of its compelling advantages is that it does not require the monopoles or masts of current offshore designs:
The new [Aerogenerator] turbine is based on semi-submersible oil platform technology and does not have the same weight constraints as a normal wind turbine. The radical new design is half the height of an equivalent [conventional] turbine.
Offshore turbines cost 30-50% more than their land-based counterparts, primarily because of making the design withstand the harsher and more corrosive conditions. Installation is also more expensive since it requires highly specialized and expensive boats which are relatively few in number and in very high demand. The potentially simpler installation of the Aerogenerator may give it a cost advantage.

Engineers think the design could be expanded to produce turbines generating 20MW or more which may be larger than the mechanical limits of conventional designs.

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