6MW floating VAWT unveiled

A 6MW vertical-axis floating wind turbine (VAWT) concept has been unveiled by a consortium of European companies led by France’s ASAH LM.

The Spinfloat would combine a low-cost three-legged semi-submersible foundation, developed by Dutch engineer GustoMSC, a drivetrain designed by German research institute Fraunhofer IWES and pitchable blades from Denmark’s SSP – which also supplied the 83.5-metre model being flown by Samsung’s 7MW offshore prototype in Scotland.

Other organisations onboard for the project include Dutch R&D outfit ECN and the Italian University Politecnico di Milano, which will carry out wind tunnel testing.

“We believe that the compelling advantages of Spinfloat and the quality of the initial consortium will attract local companies from coastal regions to create new jobs and participate to what we believe is a game-changer and a new standard for the floating offshore wind industry“ says ASAH LM president Alain Delsupexhe.

The consortium’s argument in favour of the unconventional technology is based around research that it believes supports VAWTs being “more suited to the movement of a floater” than traditional horizontal-axis machines.

Spinfloat’s so-called Tri-floater foundation uses a “braceless” architecture purpose-designed for cost-efficient construction, inspection and maintenance.

GustoMSC chief Nils Van Nood says: “GustoMSC is very pleased to further strengthen its position in floating offshore wind energy [in] support of this revolutionary new turbine.”

Among other companies developing floating VAWT concepts are French offshore oil contractor Technip with its VertiWind concept, Sweden’s Ehrnberg Solutions with its SeaTwirl, and the UK’s Wind Power with its Aerogenerator.

The US government's Sandia National Laboratories launched a project last year to test a range of ultra-large floating VAWT designs, with the target of carving 20% out of the cost of energy of deep-water installations. Dutch marine research centre Marin has been testing a Darrieus “egg-beater” design for the DeepWind Consortium, led by the Technical University of Denmark.