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MIT Developing Floating Wind Turbines That Produce Power Even When There’s No Wind

Posted By Beth Buczynski On April 29, 2013 @ 1:00 am In News,Renewable Energy,Wind Power | 2 Comments

Siemens, wind power, renewable energy, clean energy, wind energy, wind turbines, 6.0MW wind turbine, Turbina Sapiens, grid compliance, lighter wind turbines by Siemens, design, sustainable design, clean tech [1]

Critics of wind power [2] keep coming back to the same old complaint: what happens when there’s no wind? A new design from researchers at MIT [3] could finally offer a solution to this renewable energy [4] conundrum. Engineers have conceived of an offshore wind turbine anchored by hollow concrete spheres that could also turn seawater [5] into electricity. The turbine would allow offshore wind farm managers to store excess energy for a time when there’s no wind.

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The design would use massive concrete orbs (think: the diameter of the dome on the U.S. Capitol building) to anchor floating wind turbines [7] to the ocean floor. When it’s particularly windy and the turbines produce more power than is needed, some of the energy could be diverted to a pump that would remove the water from the hollow sphere. Then, if there comes a time when power produced by the turbines is insufficient, water would be allowed to flow back into the sphere through a turbine attached to a generator, and the resulting electricity would be sent back to shore.

“One such 25-meter sphere in 400-meter-deep water [8] could store up to 6 megawatt-hours of power, the MIT researchers have calculated; that means that 1,000 such spheres could supply as much power as a nuclear plant for several hours—enough to make them a reliable source of power,” reports David Chandler [9] for PhysOrg.

According to the researchers, the trick is finding the correct concrete wall thickness to withstand the hydrostatic pressure while also providing enough ballast mass – this will depend on the strength of the concrete used. The concrete could incorporate significant amounts of fly ash from coal-fired power plants [10], and the spheres could double as artificial coral reefs [11].

+ MIT [12]

Via PhysOrg [9]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/mit-developing-floating-wind-turbines-that-produce-power-even-when-theres-no-wind/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/11/Siemens-6MW-Wind-Turbine.jpg

[2] wind power: http://inhabitat.com/tag/wind-power/

[3] MIT: http://inhabitat.com/tag/mit/

[4] renewable energy: http://inhabitat.com/energy/

[5] seawater: http://inhabitat.com/tag/seawater/

[6] Image: http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2013/03/Cape-Wind-Project-Offshore-United-States-Wind-Farm-Renewable-Energy-Projects.jpg

[7] wind turbines: http://inhabitat.com/tag/wind-turbines/

[8] deep water: http://phys.org/tags/deep+water/

[9] reports David Chandler: http://phys.org/news/2013-04-powereven.html

[10] coal-fired power plants: http://inhabitat.com/tag/coal-fired-power-plants/

[11] coral reefs: http://inhabitat.com/tag/coral-reefs/

[12] + MIT: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/wind-power-even-without-the-wind-0425.html

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