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March 8th, 2010

World’s largest wind turbine in development for offshore flotation

Published on March 8th, 2010 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Renewable Energy News reports that a Scandinavian energy company Sway is developing the world’s largest wind turbine, a 533-feet tall giant with a rotor diameter of 475 feet. It is designed for offshore operation (thanks to a floating design), although it will be tested on land first. For size comparison purposes, this is twice the rotor diameter and four times the sweep area of a  GE 1.5 megawatt turbine. The current size record holder is Enercon‘s E-126 7 MW 413-foot diameter behemoth.

Enova, a Scandinavian governmental agency that promotes clean energy, is providing NOK 137 million ($23.2 million) in funding. It’s a monster of a turbine, capable of generating 10-megawatts of power to power more than 2,000 homes. Enova says the project “represents a significant potential reduction in the cost of generating offshore wind power.”

The technology will be tested in Øygarden in Hordaland County over the next two years. In cooperation with the Norwegian technology firm Smartmotor AS, Sway has worked towards reducing turbine weight and the number of moving parts, as well as the use of a gearless generator system. The idea is to boost energy generation for offshore wind power and reduce operating costs at the same time.

“There are many smart concepts aimed at exploiting the renewable energy potential along the coast and offshore. The goal of the program is to demonstrate and introduce innovative new energy solutions to the market by showcasing projects which can help qualify the technology in the form of energy results and operational experience,” says Nils Kristian Nakstad, Enova’s executive director.

One has to wonder how Sway/Enova plans on transporting the rotors.  This is already a difficult and costly problem on US highways, but Sway’s plant in Rådal is very close to a port that leads to the Norwegian Sea, so this may not be much of an issue.


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