Dublin-based company Gazelle Wind Power has developed a modular floating offshore wind turbine design that it claims is more affordable than traditional designs. The Register reports:
While it still has to be anchored to the seafloor, Gazelle’s design places the anchor cables on a trio of articulated arms that help the platform move with the motion of the ocean. To ensure the turbine tower itself stays stationary, a counterweight hangs from the center of the platform; Gazelle claims this will reduce the turbine’s pitch to less than five degrees, which the company said will greatly reduce wear and tear on the tower. Despite those design changes, the result is a turbine base that Gazelle reckons is smaller, lighter and 30 percent cheaper to deploy compared to traditional semi-submersible designs, it said. Speaking to IEEE Spectrum recently, Gazelle CTO Jason Wormald claimed the counterbalanced turbine was designed from the ground up, so to speak, for the offshore wind industry.
Gazelle’s design has yet to be fielded – it’s working on a pilot project in Portugal with renewable energy firm WAM Horizon, whose Chairman also serves as a non-executive director at Gazelle — but if test results scale well it could mean every 1GW of third-generation Gazelle towers deployed would use 71kt less steel, preventing around 100kt of carbon dioxide emissions, the company claims. Gazelle also touts its modular design, which it said doesn’t require any specialized equipment, like cranes or custom-built launch vessels, as another way in which it reduces environmental impacts.