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Owlwind: innovative wind turbines!

Thematic : Energy production - Hydropower and Windpower

Release : 30/06/2017

The LEGI (Laboratory of Geophysical and Industrial flows, member of Carnot Energies du futur institute) has devised an innovative floating wind turbine.

With the support of Linksium, the LEGI (Laboratory of Geophysical and Industrial flows, member of Carnot Energies du futur institute) has devised an innovative floating wind turbine. Effective and low-cost, this wind turbine will be produced by a future start-up: Owlwind. If it was fully operated, the French offshore wind potential could replace 40 nuclear reactors!

  • Owlwind

Increasing wind power energy in the energy mix could be a solution to tackle global warming issues. Easily approved by the local populations concerned, offshore wind turbines are however unsuitable far away from coasts where the seabed is significant. Therefore, a floating wind turbine is an innovative solution: it covers larger surfaces than traditional offshore wind turbines. Moreover, these traditional wind power turbines require huge and expensive floats because of their massive structure. For that reason, the LEGI’s researchers have developed a specific wind turbine with a vertical rotation axis which allows installing the electric generator in the lower part of the structure. The general structure is thus more stable and efficient.

  • Promising trials

Due to low performance tests on wind turbines with an “H” architecture, Jean-Luc Achard, CNRS research director at LEGI, has imagined an innovative concept of turbine without axis. “This design gets rid of side effects that use energy which is not at last harvested: axis, wind turbines’ wings etc.” explain Stéphane Barre and Guillaume Maurice, both researchers at LEGI and co-developers of this wind turbine. Supported by SATT Linksium, tests conducted in a wind-tunnel on a small-scale prototype have been promising: superior or equal performances to the traditional wind turbines are expected. “This original design is now patented and it outperforms more than 50% the traditional wind turbines with an H structure”. A R&D project which aims to validate the global wind turbine’s architecture, has been funded by ANR and the Owlwind start-up should be created in 2017 with the objective to develop a demonstrator.

  • A multiple versions concept

Meanwhile, wind turbine’s numerical models have been developed in order to simulate airflows and turmoil. “The challenge is to work on various parameters with the help of numerical simulation in order to improve the wind turbine’s performances” explains Guillaume Balarac, lecturer at Grenoble INP – Ense3 and in charge of the “Turmoil’s modelling and Simulation”’s team at LEGI. Then, this concept will be declined in various versions: one for 100 meter high floating machines able to produce from 6 to 8 MW (Northwind) and other smaller machines (32 meters, 275 KW) located in tropical sites which are not connected to the grid. The latter will be able to adapt in case of tornados and cyclones (Farwind).

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