US carmaker General Motors’ venture capital arm has led an investment round of up to $10m to help fund the development and commercialisation of an innovative offshore wind technology developed by a Norwegian startup, Wind Catching Systems.
The technology consists of floating multiturbine parks featuring a number of turbines assembled in a large sail. According to Wind Catching, one ‘sail unit’ is expected to have the same annual production as five conventional 15 MW offshore wind turbines.
Current investors Ferd and North Energy have participated in the round, which also attracted the Bergesen family through Havfonn as another new investor.
In addition to the investment, Wind Catching Systems (WCS) and General Motors (GM) have entered into a strategic agreement to collaborate on technology development, project execution, offshore wind policy, and the advancement of sustainable technology applications.
“As GM continues to move towards an all-electric future, it’s critical that we simultaneously drive the transition of the grid to low-carbon energy sources,” said Kristen Siemen, GM’s chief sustainability officer. “GM Ventures’ investment in offshore wind with Wind Catching Systems represents an opportunity to accelerate innovative technology to market, advancing a cleaner, more reliable, and resilient energy future.”
WCS said it aims to enable offshore wind operators and developers to produce electricity at a cost that competes with other energy sources, without subsidies. The technology, with the first commercial installation planned for 2027, is expected to cut acreage use by more than 80% and increase efficiency significantly in comparison to conventional floating offshore wind farms.
“Wind Catching Systems’ technology is projected to have a structural design life of 50 years, should cost substantially less to maintain than conventional floating offshore wind solutions, and will aim to solve sustainability issues related to recycling, marine resources, and CO2 emissions from installation and maintenance,” the developer added.