Marin tests floating vertical-axis wind turbine

Dutch marine research centre Marin is in the home stretch of testing an innovative floating vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) concept for the DeepWind Consortium, led by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

The two-metre-tall part-scale demonstrator of the 5MW VAWT, made up of a long stabliser tube that rotates in the water, a vertical-axis rotor and a spar-type foundation, was trialled at Marin's facility in Wageningen in waves equivalent to real-life heights of 15 metres and currents as fast as four metres per second.

“A key point in these tests is that wind and waves are present simultaneously in a controlled environment, allowing the study of the complex motions and loads of the rotating wind turbine in wind, waves and current," says Marin project manager Erik-Jan de Ridder.

"These tests serve as high quality benchmark data to validate simulation methods for the coupling between aerodynamic and hydrodynamic behaviour.”

The Marin trials follow on an initial programme of tests with the demonstrator in the fjord at Risø, Denmark, last autumn.  

DeepWind plans to next deploy the demonstrator floater back at Risø for further testing, data from which will dovetailed with the model tests at Marin to drill into the physics behind the concept to inform further development.

The 12-member DeepWind project was launched in 2010 with EC technology funding to hatch a new, purpose-designed offshore wind turbine design that had "better cost efficiency than existing technologies". 

Along with the DTU and Marin, companies in the consortium include: TUDelft, Institut for Energiteknik/Aalborg Universitet, DHI, Marintek, Sintef, Nenuphar, Statoil, Universita Degli Studi di Trento, The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Vestas.