Norwegian startup, Wind Catching Systems has won a technology development grant of NOK22m ($2.1m) from government enterprise Enova to support the design, construction and testing of a wind turbine that the company plans to install in its floating multi-turbine structure called the Windcatcher.
The Olso-based firm, owned by Ferd and North Energy, with backing from US carmaker General Motors, is developing a multi-turbine floating wind power plant with the aim of maximising the energy production per floating structure while enabling a self-contained maintenance system eliminating the need for specialised vessels.
The 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. One unit is expected to have the same annual production as five conventional 15 MW offshore wind turbines, according to the developer.
“This project challenges the conventional technology for offshore wind. Our mission is to support technology development and we will follow Wind Catching Systems with interest going forward,” said Nils Kristian Nakstad, CEO of Enova.
The pilot is planned at Mehuken wind park on the Norwegian west coast in 2023. In the development and testing phase Wind Catching Systems will cooperate with companies like Zephyr, Aibel, The Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) and DNV.
“The grant from Enova combined with the capital raised from our investors GM Ventures, Ferd and North Energy, will fully finance our turbine development program. This is an important step towards reaching our ambition of establishing floating offshore wind as a sustainable and competitive energy source by offering the most efficient technology,” remarked Ole Heggheim, the CEO of Wind Catching Systems.