World Wide Wind: New Contra-Rotating Wind Turbines

Image by World Wide Wind

The Norwegian company World Wide Wind (WWW) will begin testing its innovative contra-rotating vertical turbine (CRVT). It is expected that such a design will provide a significant decrease in the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for floating offshore wind power plants. The current prototype is 19 meters (62 ft) high with a capacity of 30 kW and will be tested in Norway. Moreover, these could also significantly increase in size and power in the future, and the company plans to test a 1.5 MW prototype in 2025 and a 24 MW one by 2030.

In contrast to conventional wind turbines, this design positions the generator underwater, giving it a balancing weight at the bottom of the turbine. While oceans present the best options for wind projects, harsh environments pose a challenge that could be addressed via a contra-rotating vertical turbine design. With two vertical-axis wind turbines that spin in opposite directions, the CRVT can tilt to follow the direction of the wind, similar to sailboats. Another benefit is maintenance, which is possible at the bottom of the turbine, unlike the conventional ones, while the distance between the turbines can also be decreased.

With a proper materials choice, WWW could be able to increase the capacity to 40 MW and a height of 400 m (1,312 ft) in the future and decrease the LCOE to US$50/MWh. In addition, the company signed an agreement for testing with Norway’s leading contracting and industrial group, AF Gruppen.

As said by the CEO of WWW, Bjørn Simonsen, “We are very proud to test our first prototype in cooperation with AF Gruppen and look forward to the launch and subsequent test program, as well as exploring further opportunities for collaboration. We very much appreciate the support we have received from the AF team so far and are very grateful that they are letting us use their yard at Vats for the test.

Ashton Henning

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