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Is wind catching the future of renewable energy?

A start-up in Norway has invented a multi-turbine technology that could help to radically alter how we use wind energy, making it more resourceful and efficient.

What’s 1000ft tall and could power the population of Cannes?

In the last few decades more and more attention, investment, and time has been poured into developing sources of renewable energy in order to replace the burning of harmful fossil fuels.

Now, with the immediate effects of climate change and of these unsustainable and unstable energy resources, the innovative Windcatcher seems to have come in the nick of time.

The Windcatcher is a floating, multi-turbine invention of Nordic company Wind Catching Systems that hopes to revolutionise wind energy.

Wind Catching Systems was founded in 2017 by Ole Heggheim, Arthur Kordt and Asbjørn Nes, the latter of which was responsible for designing the concept of the Windcatcher.

Wanting to radically improve offshore wind technology, they questioned whether the ‘windmill’ design of land wind turbines was the most efficient, and what they could do to improve it.

The result was the Windcatcher, which consists of many smaller turbines rather than the usual singular large one, on a floating platform.

The Windcatcher has double the swept area (area through which the blades of a wind turbine spin) as a conventional wind turbine, and can generate 5x the annual energy production.

In fact, a single Wind Catching unit produces enough electricity for 80,000 European households. (That’s about the population of Cannes, France).

The Windcatcher is not only more efficient than our current modes of wind energy production, but uses 80% less space, and has a 50 year service life, as opposed to the 30 years of current wind turbines.

Credit: Wind Catching Systems

Once the floating platform is set up, the rest of the installation and maintenance can take place on site without the need for specialised vessels or cranes, and the large deck space will be able to accommodate workers, equipment and facilities.

Wind Catching Systems aims to contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development goals and combat climate change by harnessing these vast energy stores in target markets across the globe.

The floating element of the Windcatcher is also designed to minimise disruption of marine life.

There is still a long way to go before renewable energy becomes the norm- as of 2017, fossil fuels still generated 64.5% of electricity worldwide- however innovations such as the Windcatcher could be part of the solution to the burning question of sustainability and climate change.

 

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