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02 October 2010

 

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The Technology

 

The wind turbine platform is a semi-submersible hull that has stabilising elements beneath.  The shape of the hull and the number and distribution of the stabilising elements are what makes this platform novel.  It has been patented.  Possibly the best analogy of how the platform works is to compare it to an iceberg.  When you see an iceberg you only see the tip of it; most of it is beneath the surface.  Our concept is very similar: Most of our structure sits beneath the surface of the sea.  Just as you never sea an iceberg bobbing around in the sea our novel concept for this platform does not either.

 

The visible part of the platform are the waterline columns and deck with the control room.  Above this is what ever the platform is designed to carry.  The concept we have been concentrating on developing is a wind turbine mast, Nacelle and Rotors.  

 

If you look at a wind turbine that is located onshore or even offshore, then that is what you will see with this concept too.  In order to keep the wind loads on the structure to a minimum and because you will not see the structures from land a lattice type mast similar to a tower crane is proposed.

 

To give you an idea of the visible part of the topside for the 1-4 sclae platform being proposed as a wind turbine, please see below.  The ship that we are comparing is Stena line’s ‘Europe’ ferry which runs out of Fishguard near to where we wish the prototype to be anchored.  The turbine in the picture is for the 1:4 scale prototype.

 

To minimise the wave loads we are adopting a ‘swarth’ concept.  SWARTH stands for ‘small water-plane area type hull’.  We are using small steel columns and bracing and the minimum buoyancy required to give some degree of control. The columns are slender enough to present minimal ‘frontage’ to waves and so reduce the loads on it.

 

The semi-submersible hull is where all the main buoyancy is kept, but it is so shaped as to attract very little wave loads.  Hung from the hull are stabilising elements that counteract heave, pitch and roll.  The gist of what we are trying to achieve is to mimic the response of an iceberg without the mass.

 

The structure is anchored to the sea bed via a single point mooring.  The mooring permits the structure to rotate so that it is down wind of the anchorage.  This type of mooring will permit fishing near to the structure.

The ¼ scale platform compared against the Europe vessel.