World Wide Wind’s Colossal, Contra-Rotating Turbines

New Atlas interviews the core team at Norway’s World Wide Wind to learn more about its floating, tilting, contra-rotating, double turbine design, which it says can unlock unprecedented scale, power and density to radically lower the cost of offshore wind.

Norway’s World Wide Wind has designed a floating offshore wind turbine unlike any other. Indeed, it’s two vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) in one, tuned to rotate in opposite directions. With one turbine attached to the generator’s rotor, and the other to the stator, you double their relative rotation speeds, with a corresponding increase in output.

Where conventional large horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs) have to support a large mass of motor and generators in a nacelle at the top of their enormous towers, WWW’s design keeps all its heaviest components at the bottom, vastly reducing engineering stresses and materials costs. And where HAWTs need to be anchored right to the sea floor, or mounted on extremely heavy platforms so they won’t tip over, WWW can simply put a float partway up its pole, held in place by tethers, and let its own weight balance hold the turbines up, allowing the whole structure to tilt with the wind rather than fighting to stay upright.

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