This is what the Windcatcher could look like, © Wind Catching Systems AS

Norwegian company Wind Catching Systems was established by Asbjørn Nes, Arthur Kordt and Ole Heggheim in 2017 with an ambition of fundamentally improving offshore wind power technology. They wanted to build a system competitive enough to work without subsidies. To do this, they asked themselves if the basic design currently used for offshore wind turbines – using a principle based on old Dutch windmills – represented the most-efficient method. Are the best systems for floating turbines necessarily the ones that have proved themselves on land and for fixed-foundation offshore farms?

The research into a fully new concept has resulted in a system comprising a number of small generators instead of one large turbine. The Windcatcher concentrates 117 small rotors in one system, each with a capacity of one megawatt in a 300-metre-high frame. The system is intended to be installed on a floating platform anchored at sea, much like how platforms are used for oil and gas mining. The benefit is that the platform does not need to be assembled on the open sea. Rather, it can be shipped out to its location preassembled. By concentrating the rotors, the space consumed is thought to be 80% less than conventional systems. A single system should be able to supply 80,000 households with electricity and generate about five times as much energy annually as the world’s largest single turbines. The systems will mainly be built by Aibel and will be marketed jointly. Aibel builds onshore and offshore oil and gas mining systems and wind farms, including for the Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farm, the largest system of its kind worldwide. Wind Catching Systems says that the new system is designed to last 50 years, much longer than the 30 years of a single large turbine.

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