Huge wind tur­bine opens a new green en­ergy re­search cen­tre

Science Illustrated - - SCIENCE UPDATE -

EN­ERGY Off the east coast of Scot­land, you will find a wind tur­bine that can gen­er­ate 8.8 megawatts – a new world record. The Swedish en­ergy com­pany Vat­ten­fall is re­spon­si­ble for the project, and Dan­ish Ves­tas supplied the tur­bine, which is the first of a to­tal of 11. When the wind park is com­pleted, it can sup­ply 23 % of the city of Aberdeen’s en­ergy con­sump­tion, cor­re­spond­ing to 80,000 homes.

The dis­tance from the sea sur­face to the tur­bine’s top wing tip is 191 m. The wings are 80 m long, and the en­tire ro­tor di­am­e­ter is 164 m, i.e. much larger than the fa­mous Lon­don Eye fer­ris wheel.

Apart from sup­ply­ing huge quan­ti­ties of elec­tric­ity to the Bri­tish power grid, the wind park will func-tion as a new tech­nol­ogy re­search cen­tre aim­ing to make wind parks more ef­fi­cient and cheaper to build.

The foun­da­tion of the tur­bines is made us­ing a new method, by which de­sign­ers lower a three­legged struc­ture onto the sea floor. At the bot­tom of each leg, there is a 10-m-wide, hol­low cylin­der which is sealed at the top. Once the cylin­ders are rest­ing on the sea floor, pumps will empty them of wa­ter, re­sult­ing in an un­der­pres­sure that causes them to be stuck to the sea floor. Then the foun­da­tion is sealed with a layer of con­crete, and sub­se­quently, the tur­bine is mounted along with the wings. The foun­da­tion can eas­ily be re­moved again by the end of the wind tur­bine's life. The en­tire struc­ture mea­sures a to­tal of ap­prox­i­mately 260 me­tres.

The 191-m-high wind tur­bine in Scot­land is mounted on a new type of foun­da­tion, which sucks it­self into the ocean floor.

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