Monday, July 20, 2009

Offshore Wind Farms Should Probably Use Composites

The list of benefits for offshore wind farms is growing. The more consistent wind, and open space is a lure for energy developers. However, the cost to install turbines out at sea needs to be lower in order to speed up the adaption and development.

Current offshore wind turbines are located in areas where the ocean depth is relatively shallow, such that the towers can be affixed to the sea floor. With such turbines, the tower foundation size, weight, and complexity, will be directly proportional to the weight of the tower, turbine, and blades. The heavier the tower, turbine, and blades are, the larger and more expensive a foundation is needed. This is where composites could be used.

Besides the obvious benefit of corrosion resistance, composites could play a major role in offshore towers and structures to help minimize weight. Doing so could dramatically lower the install cost and change the overall economics of the turbines...

On another note, recently a floating offshore turbine has been deployed, more information here.

Photo Credit: phault via Flicker

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