The WindFlip barge concept was designed to simplify the installation of offshore wind turbines and in the process has managed to be a solution that also cuts cost. Installing offshore wind turbines can be an expensive task — the process requires skilled technicians to assemble turbines at sea, and to anchor them at great depths. Alternatively, the WindFlip barge allows turbines to be assembled completely on shore, towed to their location, and then simply tipped into place — thus minimizing the need for expensive work at sea. Check out a video of the WindFlip in action after the jump.
The WindFlip is just a concept but the company (based in Norway) is working with Norway’s Statoil — an energy company that makes a floating wind turbine — in order to specialize the WindFlip to work with Statoil’s Hywind turbine. The WindFlip measures 100 meters long and 30 meters wide, and the barge is capable of carrying a 65 meter tall 15 megawatt hour Hywind fully assembled.
The WindFlip is designed to carry turbines out to sea at an almost horizontal position which minimizes draft and allows the barge to motor along at about eight knots — which the WindFlip team says is eight times better than the current competition. Once on site the WindFlip starts to fill 27 interior ballasts with water sequentially from the stern aft-ward which tips the WindFlip vertically with the Turbine in tow. The barge then backs away from the turbine allowing it to be anchored in place while injecting compressed air back into its ballasts, tipping horizontally and readying itself for the next tow.