There are windmills on land, but also in the water. However, it currently costs a lot of money to get a wind turbine afloat, as engineers need huge buoys to ensure that sustainable power plants don't go down. The French oil and gas extraction company Technip and energy supplier Nenuphar are now announcing the Vertiwind. This is a floating wind turbine that is cheaper than traditional offshore wind turbines.
Vertiwind does not rotate horizontally, but vertically around its axis. In other words, just like a toll. Thanks to the vertical design, the turbine's center of gravity is lower. This makes the upper part less heavy and therefore requires a smaller buoy to make the turbine float.
Technip and Nenuphar claim that a buoy of nine meters below the surface of the ocean is sufficient to keep the vertical wind turbine dry. In comparison: contemporary offshore wind turbines often have a buoy that protrudes 60 meters below the surface of the water.
"This saves a lot of material," says Stephane His, vice president of the biofuels and renewable energy department at Technip. "In addition, it is easier to install the wind turbine."
The two French companies are going to build two vertical wind turbines: one on land and one in the water. This initially costs 10 million euros each, but the two turbines together have four megawatts of power.
Is there a cheaper alternative? Yes, wind turbines attach to the seabed. However, this is only possible close to the coast. The vertical model of the French companies is extremely suitable for far at sea, where the most powerful gusts of wind rage just above the surface of the water. The most powerful gusts of land are slightly higher on land, making traditional windmills the best solution.