How offshore wind turbines could be more efficient

By University of Cambridge:

A Cambridge University study suggests that offshore wind farms could be 100 per cent more efficient in terms of energy payback if manufacturers embraced new methods for making the structures that support the turbines.

As wind farms are increasingly sited offshore rather than on land, and installed at water depths of up to 40 metres, a Cambridge University engineer is urging the wind power industry to look again at the design of the heavy supporting towers and foundations used out at sea in order to improve the energy payback achieved.

Jim Platts of the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) believes that the wind power sector could achieve significantly higher payback ratios if turbine manufacturers used guyed towers (towers held in place by steel cables) made in composite materials rather than free-standing towers made in conventional steel materials.

A preliminary study undertaken at IfM suggests that payback ratios for offshore wind farms could be doubled if the industry embraced new construction methods… Read more

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