Japanese shipping giant Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) is backing a tilting floating wind turbine concept with a ‘one piece’ rotor design.

MOL said it made an undisclosed equity investment to become a shareholder in Dutch start-up TouchWind, which has been testing its ‘Mono’ concept that’s claimed to be able to operate in the face of wind speeds of up to 70 metres/second, and have the potential to reduce ‘wake effect’ losses when turbines are arranged in arrays.

The Japanese group said the TouchWind design “enables the wind turbines to operate in strong winds, reduces the weight of the wind turbine and floating parts, and is expected to improve the utilisation rate and the economics of the wind turbine equipment through their lifecycle”.

TouchWind – which was founded 30 years ago by Dutch engineer Rikus van de Klippe – claims its single-piece design can come it at 30% the cost of conventional rotors.

The wind technology group is currently carrying out small-scale design tests backed by the Dutch government.

Klippe said: “Field testing with a six metre diameter rotor is in full preparation at the Oostvoorne lake in the Netherlands. With MOL as a shareholder and their investments, we can speed up our testing program to prove our technology.”

TouchWind is not the only floating wind concept to have received backing from MOL, which last year signed a memorandum of understanding with two-bladed turbine pioneer SeaWind.