The US Department of Energy awarded GE $3 million to engineer a more cost-efficient and fuel-efficient offshore wind turbine. Their blueprints have been delivered, and if all goes well, the updated prototype will surely change the future of offshore wind energy.
The increasing concern for climate change has prompted many companies and governments to begin to take action to lower global emissions. With the new administration coming into office in early 2021, many celebrated the welcoming focus on the environment and the promise of sustainable initiatives. One of these promises was to incorporate more green energy and continue phasing out fossil fuels.
A recent statement that the United States made was the approval of an offshore wind farm to be installed off the coast of Massachusetts. This announcement is expected to be one of many that will come in the future, as the new administration is looking to expand sustainability initiatives even further.
The Improvement of Offshore Wind Turbines
Offshore wind farms have many benefits and are considered to be an eco-friendly alternative to their counterpart, fossil fuels. The turbines used for offshore wind farms are the same as those used on land, which is both good and bad. These turbines are usually either connected to the grid or have a generator attached at the base. The wind turns the turbine blades, generating the energy, which is then either directly transferred to utility companies or stored for future use.
By implementing offshore wind farms, coastal cities won’t have to worry about compromising land, shadow pollution, or noise pollution. Offshore farms are also believed to have a minimal impact on marine life, especially when compared to fossil fuels.
The downside of using the same model for both onshore and offshore wind farms is that these machines were designed and built to accompany the land, not the ocean. This can lead to some mechanical disadvantages, such as lower efficiency, the potential to tip, and falling victim to strong waves and the ocean current. Though there are still many benefits to using offshore wind farms, there is always room for improvement. Ideally by creating a newer model that is more compatible with the ocean, this will lead to a lasting effect in the world of alternative energy.
GE is looking to take on this challenge and invent a new type of wind turbine that is harmonious with offshore conditions.
New Innovations Brings New Hope
GE was awarded a $3 million grant and two years from the Department of Energy to engineer a more efficient alternative to the current offshore wind turbines. Recently, the company announced its rather promising progress. Partnering with the consulting firm, Glosten, GE is looking to incorporate the current wind turbine model with an array of automotive technology to help the turbines adapt to the waves and ocean currents.
The newer model is expected to be more energy-efficient, cost-efficient, and easier to install. This is due to GE’s technological advancements that have lent way to the overall improvement of these giant machines. The turbines are also anticipated to be huge, the largest currently available on the market. This size will allow for more energy to be produced and make the turbines more stable, allowing them to be installed further off of land than the current model.
Perhaps one of the biggest game-changers that GE is looking to implement into the new turbines is the ability to anchor them to the seafloor via tension wires. This anchoring will allow the wire to be tighter during calm waters, and be given more leeway during rough currents, allowing the turbines to move effortlessly with the ebb and flow of the ocean. This controlled movement will prevent the turbines from tipping and, therefore, aid in their overall efficiency.
The wave-riding potential of the turbines has made its way through the alternative energy market and created anticipation for its release.
The advantage of green energy is an ever-growing market. With more demand for sustainable products comes more innovation, and ultimately better alternatives. GE and Glosten working together to help make the current wind turbines more efficient and compatible with offshore installation will only yield beneficial outcomes. The remarkable engineering such as that of a tension rope can have a great outcome and make wind turbines more effective and more desirable to consumers.
With initiatives such as these being unveiled at a growing rate, we can expect the future of the United States to be that of a technologically advanced and sustainable one. If GE were to successfully finish its prototype, and after it passes the necessary testing, its implementation would surely surge, and it might even make its way into the newly announced offshore wind farm. One thing is for sure, the surge of innovation and engineering leads to a promising outlook for the future of both the planet and humankind.