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Chinese company develops world's largest floating platform for wind turbines: 'Enhancing production efficiency'

This is part of a growing offshore wind industry.

This is part of a growing offshore wind industry.

Photo Credit: Mingyang Smart Energy

A Chinese company that already produces giant "typhoon-proof" wind turbines is doubling down on its efforts by putting the finishing touches on a twin platform capable of supporting two rotors. 

Mingyang's offshore prowess has been honed during 20 years of research and development, and the business regularly makes headlines for the size and durability of its wind-catchers. 

It's now billing the latest achievement, OceanX, as the "world's largest" floating platform by capacity, though the title might be hard to hold, as other innovations are making progress, as well. 

In April, OceanX was at the tower-lifting stage. A photo of the platform shared on Mingyang's LinkedIn page shows it floating with a multitude of cranes in the background. 

"Mingyang, at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, is integrating clean energy with industrial intelligence," company President Zhang Chuanwei said on its website. 

By placing two turbines on one rig — something other companies are doing, too — OceanX has set a new benchmark for capacity. It's also an alternative design to simply going bigger, which has limitations. 

The V-shaped towers and long, elliptical cross sections provide durability during typhoon conditions, according to the LinkedIn post and a report from Interesting Engineering. 

Other perks include "additional yawing power, enhancing production efficiency, and reducing ultimate load." The two counter-rotating rotors deliver 16.6 megawatts of capacity. For reference, grid operator California ISO states that one megawatt is enough instantaneous juice for about 750 homes. 

It's an accomplishment that started as a 1:10-scale model that was trialed around four years ago with success, according to IE, referencing a Recharge story. 

"I still remember well the first tests on a 1:10 scaled prototype. Impressive to see this becoming real at full scale," wind specialist Béla Kühn commented on the LinkedIn post

It's part of a growing offshore wind industry. Data collector Statista reports that worldwide capacity hit 72,663 megawatts in 2023, an increase from prior years. What's more, Denmark developers are planning so-called energy islands that will serve as hubs to better manage the anticipated deluge of offshore wind power in the coming years. The hubs will more efficiently send power to the coast, where the electricity could soon help to power homes farther inland. 

It's another step in the transition to cleaner energy on a large scale. Renewable energy already makes up about 20% of America's power production. Wind leads the way, at 10.3% of total production, all per the U.S. Department of Energy. The country's first large-scale offshore turbines, located off the East Coast, started delivering energy to homes earlier this year. 

The positive impact can be realized in the very oceans where the turbines are located. By replacing dirty fuel burning with turbine turning, the cleaner energy source reduces the amount of planet-warming air pollution hitting the atmosphere, which has been linked to underwater woes caused by hotter sea temperatures. Sea life health is a concern that directly impacts our food chain.

Next up for OceanX is a trip off the coast of Qingzhou, where the twin platform is to be installed. IE reports the process could take a couple of months. 

"Looking forward to seeing what comes out of it," Alexander G. commented on the LinkedIn post.

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