Swedish eco-designers, Ehrnberg Solutions AB, have just completed their most successful prototype of the floating SeaTwirl vertical wind turbine. The device captures and harvests offshore wind, without having to convert the energy as it is being stored. SeaTwirl is the first of its kind with only two moving parts, and it uses only sea water as a roller bearing, omitting the need for a gearbox or transmission.
SeaTwirl is already being praised as one of the most simple and cost effective wind turbines ever made. Its vertical blades spin, absorbing energy from the wind and storing it throughout a water filled torus. The torus also holds the turbine above sea level and assists in the spinning even when winds have died down. Meanwhile, a tiny generator at the bottom of the turbine then converts the energy to electricity.
The floating design also makes for a more cost effective turbine. The weight of the water makes it easier to utilize and move heavy, cheap material that can spin slowly and still collect wind. The discarding of energy conversion equipment also saves a great deal in production costs and makes the turbine much lighter, allowing it to be positioned further offshore.
The successful SeaTwirl prototype has been installed near Halmstad off the coast of Sweden for the past month, and test results are currently being analyzed. We hope to see these in commercial production soon!