MOL Partners to Develop Tilting, One Rotor, Floating Wind Turbine
Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines signed a joint development agreement for an innovative floating wind technology being developed by a Dutch start-up company called TouchWind. The companies look to work together to develop and accelerate the rollout of TouchWind’s design for a tilting, one-piece rotor floating wind turbine that can offer significant advantages over conventional designs.
Using his background in aeronautical engineering, the founder and CEO of Touchwind, Rikus van de Klippe, came up with the idea for a wind turbine that functions like a kite. Working with research institutes in the Netherlands and with a 2020 research grant from the Dutch RVO, TouchWind has been working to develop its designs for a one-piece rotor that would be placed on a floating platform. According to the company, it permits the production of the wind turbine for one-third the cost of traditional designs and a bigger turbine that can generate more energy.
“The unique concept of TouchWind shows high potential of increasing the utilization rate and efficiency of wind farms as well as reducing wind turbine costs thanks to its innovative design,” says Masayuki Sugiyama, General Manager of Wind PowerProjects Unit at MOL. “I believe that the collaboration with TouchWind will bring opportunities to MOL to develop efficient and competitive floating offshore wind farm projects.”
TouchWind highlights that because it uses a floating design, they require no foundation or mast saving on costs, but also giving the floating turbine unique capabilities. It self adjusts its angle to the wind meaning that it can operate in nearly any weather condition. Tests have shown that the design can operate in wind speeds up to 70 meters per second versus a traditional wind turbine that has to be shut down if winds exceed 25 meters per second.
The design would also permit construction onshore with the completed wind turbine easy to tow into position and anchor. The company says a single 200 meter (656 foot) rotor, is capable of an energy output of 12.5 MW.
TouchWind's wind turbine would be assembled and towed into position (TouchWind)
Van de Klippe says working with MOL he believes will enable the faster rollout of the one-piece rotor concept and permit the company to reach more areas of the world. Together with MOL, they also plan to conduct joint future technology development to further increase efficiency and achieve cost reductions, especially for the operations and maintenance at sea level of the wind turbines.
MOL has been moving to expand its business in the offshore wind sector. According to the company, they see great opportunities for this cost-competitive and robust floating turbine concept. The company has been looking to develop its role in the business as well as to support wind farms through its experience as a shipping company.