1,000-foot floating multi-turbine unit could power 80,000 homes

Wind Catching Systems Multi-Turbine Grid
A single Windcatcher floating offshore grid could power 80,000 homes at grid-parity prices. Images © Wind Catching Systems

Norwegian company Wind Catching Systems (WCS) has developed an innovative floating wind farm technology that features multiple smaller turbines mounted on a grid. The 1,000-foot-tall unit is designed to float in deep waters, where winds are stronger and turbines can perform more rotations per minute, generating more energy. The company claims that its floating technology can generate five times the annual energy of the world’s largest single turbines and could power up to 80,000 homes.

The technology consists of a matrix of beams that support around 115 turbines, each with a diameter of around 30 meters. The turbines are smaller than traditional wind turbines and can handle higher winds due to their size. The Wind Catcher system has double the swept area of a conventional 15 megawatt wind turbine, making it more efficient at generating power.

In October 2022, Wind Catching Systems received a pre-project grant of NOK 22 million ($2.1 million) from government-owned company ENOVA, which works to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in Norway. Last month, the company was awarded another grant of NOK 9.3 million ($0.9 million).

Wind Catching Systems was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in Lysaker, outside Oslo. Its largest owners are GM Ventures (the venture capital arm of General Motors), Ferd (Norway’s largest private investment company), and North Energy ASA (a publicly traded energy investment company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange).

Wind Catching Systems aims to make wind turbines more efficient and less complicated. The smaller turbines can maximize power generation from a concentrated area and handle higher winds. The company is trying to make wind turbines as uncomplicated as possible.

Windcatcher Grid Eiffel Tower Size Comparison
Giving you a sense of scale, WCS pictures the Windcatcher grid alongside the 1,063 ft high Eiffel Tower.

The Wind Catcher system is built with smaller pieces that are easier to work with, and most of the installation and maintenance can be done on deck without cranes or specialized vessels. The grid design allows easy access for ongoing maintenance. Wind Catching Systems claims that the floating wind farms are ready for a 50-year service life, compared to the 30 years of a single large turbine.

In June 2022, Wind Catching Systems received $10 million in funding from General Motors, which will also help the company build a supply chain and mass produce the technology. The company hopes that the technology will radically improve offshore wind technology and be immediately competitive with grid prices. The floating wind farms could reduce costs while generating more energy, making them an attractive option for countries looking to transition to cleaner energy sources.

Wind Catching Systems Replace Conventional Turbines
WCS says that five Wind Catching units can produce the same amount of electricity as 25 conventional turbines.

The Wind Catching Systems’ technology is a creative and intriguing clean energy project that has the potential to revolutionize the wind energy industry. Its floating wind farms could generate more energy and be more efficient than traditional wind turbines while reducing costs and increasing the lifespan of the turbines.

The technology could help countries transition to cleaner energy sources and reduce their carbon emissions, which is essential for addressing the global climate crisis. With funding from General Motors and grants from ENOVA, Wind Catching Systems is well-positioned to develop and mass-produce its innovative technology.

Source: Wind Catching Systems