Supertall floating ‘Windcatchers’ will make wind farms affordable, company says

A new, floating offshore wind turbine system using stacked, square grids nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower is being developed by Norwegian firms Wind Catching Systems, contractor Aibel AS and holding company Ferd.

The grids will be 1,000 ft tall, reports Asia Times, some three times the height of a typical turbine and nearly matching the Eiffel Tower’s 1,063 feet.

Wind Catching Systems says its ‘Windcatchers’ will cut land use by 80% and can be produced at cheap fixed prices.

The company says the system will make floating offshore wind farms financially competitive before 2023, at least a decade earlier than traditional floating offshore wind farms.

It plans a pilot project consisting of several 1 MW turbines using an Integrated “mother vessel” substation connecting all units.

Eventually, each Windcatcher will be able to produce enough electricity for 80,000 homes, with five units creating the equivalent of 25 conventional turbines, the company says.

Windcatchers are claimed to be able to generate two and a half times more electricity than a conventional turbine because their height exposes their rotors to higher wind speeds.

In addition, rotor blades are pitched, allowing for an energy output higher than a conventional turbine, Wind Catching Systems says.

Ole Heggheim, the company’s chief executive, said: “Our goal is to enable offshore wind operators and developers to produce electricity at a cost that competes with other energy sources, without subsidies.

“Simply put, we will deliver floating offshore wind at the costs of bottom-fixed technology solutions, which provides great opportunities on a global basis for the Norwegian supplier industry.”

Erik Bjørstad, Ferd investment director, said: “The goal is to complete the technical testing and verification during 2021 and to offer commercial development solutions in 2022.

“Wind Catching has significant competitive benefits compared to conventional floating offshore wind technologies and we see great opportunities for the Norwegian supplier and export industry.”

Images courtesy of Wind Catching Systems

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