New contra-rotating turbine design produces double the energy of the world's largest turbine

The company behind it hopes to have a massive 30-MW model by 2029.
Chris Young
An artist's impression of the CRVT.
An artist's impression of the CRVT.

Source: World Wide Wind 

Norway-based firm World Wide Wind is developing a new type of floating, vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) that it believes will radically change, and improve, the way we harness the wind's powers, a report from New Atlas reveals.

Their VAWTs employ two sets of contra-rotating blades to produce double the output of today's biggest turbines, the company says.

New contra-rotating vertical turbine produces double the energy

Unlike traditional offshore wind turbines, VAWTs typically feature their heavy components near the bottom, except for their blades, near the bottom, meaning they have a lower center of gravity. They can also receive wind energy from any direction and don't have to turn to face the wind direction, which helps to cut down on some heavy machinery.

World Wide Wind's design, called the contra-rotating vertical turbine, or CRVT, essentially acts as two VAWTs in one. A lower one rotates around the stem of the tower, while the higher one is mounted at the top. Each one is set to rotate in opposite directions. One of the turbines is attached to the rotor while the other is attached to the "stator," a setup that doubles the relative speed of rotation when compared with a static stator, producing more electricity.

The CRVT will tilt with the wind and employ specially-designed blades that World Wide Wind says should help to reduce turbulent wake downstream from each individual tower. This, it says, should allow operators to fit more of the turbines into a given area, allowing them to generate more electricity.

World Wide Wind aims for working 40-MW model by 2029

Currently, the world's largest wind turbine is the 794 ft (242 meters) tall MingYang Smart Energy 16.0-242, which has a capacity of 16 MW. World Wide Wind claim they'll blow those figures out the water as their system can scale up to a height of 1,312 ft (400 m), allowing for a massive 40-megawatt capacity per unit.

In an interview with Recharge, company representatives said they are working to speed up the development of the CRVT via rapid prototyping. They hope to have a 3-MW model ready by 2026 and one of the massive 40-MW machines as soon as 2029.

It is worth pointing out that World Wide Wind has so far provided no supporting evidence or research regarding the efficiency and output of its CRVT. A lot more work is needed before we can truly start believing the hype. World Wide Wind, however, does have a lot of people in its corner, and it has announced partnerships with Uppsala University, Sinted, North Wind, Kjeller Vindteknik, Norwegian Energy Partners, and the Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster.

Given the dire situation the world faces and the desperate need for more efficient renewable energy solutions, we hope this strong collaboration comes good and delivers on the mammoth power estimates it has announced to the world.

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