Plans to deploy an innovative 'pirouetting' vertical-axis floating wind turbine concept off Brazil were announced under a collaboration involving the technology’s Swedish developer.
SeaTwirl said it has linked with Crest Consultants to look at opportunities to develop “concept products” with Brazilian partners and “eventually find commercial projects to collaborate on”.
The SeaTwirl concept – first launched in 2011 – is engineered to rotate as one unit, from blade-tip down the length of its axle, turning a direct-drive permanent-magnet generator, with seawater drawn into the structure through the shaft by centrifugal force, and then released during low-wind periods to maintain the turning momentum — like a figure-skater pirouetting — so that the turbine operates like a flywheel.
The Swedish company has a long-term collaboration deal in place with engineering giant Siemens, and has former MHI Vestas CEO Jens Tommerup on its board.
In 2018 SeaTwirl inked a deal to supply electricity to Norwegian regional utility Haugaland Kraft for power from its planned first ‘S2’ unit, a 1MW prototype.
Crest is said to have extensive engineering experience and contacts in Brazil, where offshore wind is moving rapidly up the agenda. The partners aim to begin with a feasibility study part-financed by a Swedish government grant.
Federal officials in Brazil are consulting on licensing guidelines for offshore wind development, while potential tendering of offshore development areas has been discussed in the nation’s congress.
An Offshore Wind Roadmap published by Brazil’s energy planning authority EPE earlier this year said the nation – which boasts strong winds, shallow water depths and 8,000km of coastline, could have its first projects up and running by 2027.
The World Bank last year named Brazil among a clutch of emerging offshore wind markest where the renewable source could play a key role in helping to meet growing power demand.
The momentum has attracted the interest of global giants such as Iberdrola and local oil group Petrobras.