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These state-of-the-art 'floating turbines' could revolutionize wind power — and they look like something out of a sci-fi movie

The unique vertical-axis structure and efficient design offer a promising solution for accessing strong and consistent wind.

SeaTwirl designs innovative offshore wind turbines

Photo Credit: SeaTwirl Press Kit

SeaTwirl is changing the landscape of wind power with an innovative floating turbine that is easier to build and less expensive to maintain than traditional offshore wind turbines. The unique vertical-axis structure and efficient "twirling" design offer a promising solution for harnessing power offshore where the wind is often stronger and more consistent.

As finite energy-producing resources dwindle and our energy needs increase, it is imperative to develop an infrastructure for renewable sources of power such as wind. 

According to the International Energy Agency, wind energy plays an important role in the pathway toward green energy solutions, with capacity increasing dramatically in 2022 thanks to investments and policy support in innovative companies like SeaTwirl.

SeaTwirl's signature design offers all of the advantages of wind power while addressing some of its major challenges, such as high cost, disruptions to wildlife, and accessing ideal wind sites, which are often in remote locations.

"Our technology is designed for the offshore environment from the start," a YouTube video from the company states. 

SeaTwirl uses the buoyancy force of the water to support the weight of the turbine while the vertical-axis structure can harness energy regardless of wind direction. 

Traditional offshore wind turbines can typically only be installed at depths of about 50-60 meters, but the SeaTwirl can be anchored much deeper, allowing access to sites with stronger and more frequent winds, Electrek reported. The location of the generator housing right above the water level and below the turbine allows safe and easy access to the parts that most often require maintenance.

Installed in 2015, the company's S1 prototype, a 30kW floating turbine, has been proven to withstand severe storms and hurricane conditions with minimal maintenance. 

Now in manufacturing, SeaTwirl's S2x further improves upon the vertical-axis design with an optimal operating depth of 100+ meters. The pilot testing period for the S2x is estimated to begin in 2023 and last approximately five years, depending on site permits. The expected longevity of each commercial turbine is 25-30 years.

In mid-2023, the Sweden-based company received its first commercial order for an installation of the S1 model in the North Sea. 

According to a May press release, SeaTwirl will join Kontiki Winds, a Norwegian offshore wind developer, to explore further market opportunities for implementing offshore wind turbines and work toward the decarbonization of global energy.

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