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MIT designs giant portable wind turbines

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posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 11:17 AM
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www.gizmag.com...





Offshore wind turbines usually stand on towers driven deep into the ocean floor, but that arrangement works only in shallow waters (depths of 15 meters or less) and hence installations are typically close to shore and elicit public opposition.

In 2004, MIT researchers teamed up with wind-turbine experts from the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to integrate a wind turbine with a floating platform similar to those used by off-shore oil rigs. The design uses a tension leg platform (TLP), in which steel tethers connect the corners of the platform to a mooring on the ocean floor. The platform and turbine are thus supported not by an expensive tower but by buoyancy.

According to their analyses, the floater-mounted turbines could work in water depths ranging from 30 to 200 meters. In the Northeast, for example, they could be 50 to 150 kilometers from shore. And the turbine atop each platform could be big--an economic advantage in the wind-farm business. The MIT-NREL design assumes a 5.0 megawatt (MW) experimental turbine now being developed by industry. (Onshore units are 1.5 MW, conventional offshore units, 3.6 MW.)


Interesting concept. I wonder why nobody tried this before as it seems so obvious when you think about it.


This also caught my eye as well.



Paul D. Sclavounos, a professor of mechanical engineering and naval architecture at MIT estimates that building and installing his floating support system should cost a third as much as constructing the type of truss tower now planned for deep-water installations. Installing the tethers, the electrical system, and the cable to the shore is standard procedure. Because of the strong offshore winds, the floating turbines should produce up to twice as much electricity per year (per installed megawatt) as wind turbines now in operation. And because the wind turbines are not permanently attached to the ocean floor, they are a movable asset. If a company with 400 wind turbines serving the Boston area needs more power for New York City, it can unhook some of the floating turbines and tow them south.


[edit on 22-9-2006 by sardion2000]




posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 12:21 PM
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Such a perfectly simple design, a 'WATS' to the inventor!

Maybe Branson should re-direct some of the £billions from his proposed bio-fuels plan into a huge offshore wind farm somewhere in the North Sea, where force-8 gales are a day-to-day occurance.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 12:40 PM
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I wish he would put his money in a Systematic approach and tackle all problems at the same time like in Gaviotas.

[edit on 22-9-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 12:51 PM
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That's so cool! So I went lookin' for more and MIT makes tiny turbines too! I'll post it elswhere not to take away from this valuable thread. These energy advances are exciting... but could obsolete a how bunch of current tech... implications?

Thanx,

Victor K.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 12:54 PM
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Originally posted by V Kaminski
That's so cool! So I went lookin' for more and MIT makes tiny turbines too! I'll post it elswhere not to take away from this valuable thread. These energy advances are exciting... but could obsolete a how bunch of current tech... implications?

Thanx,

Victor K.


The Implication is that Planned Obsolecense is starting to creep it's way into the energy sector, and for once I don't mind one bit as each new model will have to outperform older models, it will become expected and then we will start a whole new upgrade cycle like in the Computer Industry
At least that's what my Alt. Energy portfolio believes right now, what with all the analyst upgrades and high stock premiums and such.

[edit on 22-9-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 01:12 PM
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I won't mind either but the transition could be messy and expensive... the "current power" structure (double entendre intended) stand to take a "bath" and potentially make a "killing" - all the current infrastructure is maxed-out right? New toys'll cost large... wonder who all's gonna pay for that? LOL.

On a more serious note the efficiency of this portable unit is stunning... and quiet - these folks got it right. I am frankly amazed how ingenuity seems to evolve to overcome the "impossible"... handy survival trait, that ingenuity stuff.

MIT is one heck of a "hothouse"... could you imagine the level of competition within that institution - at every level? Everyone wracking their brains to "out-do" the other 24/7/365 for decades. I wonder what the "burn" rate is... anyway they do great work and should be congratulated for this breathrough of neccessity. Well-done.

Victor K.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 01:20 PM
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I actually happen to think Competition is hurting innovation, not helping it. When people compete, they are usually not willing to share the stuff they learned to their "rivals."

Competition is important, I'm not saying that we should get rid of it to solve our problems, I just think we got to stop competeting amoungs ourselves and start competing with Nature(within the context of doing things with a Net Zero impact on the enviroment).

A co-operative systematic approach is what is needed. The competitivness will come from just trying to simply survive in an extremely inhospitable landscape, and try to make it livable without cutting down trees, hunting game, overfishing or burning fossil fuels. Just Imagine a settlement in Alaska, staffed by hundreds of Scientists, Engineers, Craft-people, and Artists all working together to come up with the technologies needed to simply survive with only what is locally available. Check out the Gaviotas link for more info on that approach. It's already a proven system. You tend to concentrate more on what is important if all you have to worry about is keeping warm, staying well fed, and surviving. You also tend to bond with your fellow "villagers" and form tight community links(as well as Lifelong friends).

[edit on 22-9-2006 by sardion2000]



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