Flipping Over Offshore Wind Turbines

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WindFlip AS is a Norwegian company that has developed WindFlip, a novel approach to transporting pre-assembled wind turbines to offshore locations.

The approach is described in International Application Publication No. WO 2011/051804, entitled “Partially Submersible Wind Turbine Transport Vessel” (’804 Application).

WindFlip is a specialized barge for transporting assembled offshore wind turbines. The assembled wind turbine (24) is transported on a turbine transport vessel (10) in a nearly horizontal position, as shown below in Figure 1 of the ’804 Application.

Once the vessel (10) reaches its destination, it tilts to a vertical position using seawater. More particularly, twenty-nine air-filled displacement tanks are located in the hull (22) of the vessel (10).

The displacement tanks are sequentially filled with seawater, sinking the stern (16) of the vessel (10) and the base of the turbine (24), until both are at a vertical position, as shown in Figure 4.

Once the turbine (24) and vessel (10) are oriented approximately 90 degrees to the sea surface, the turbine (24) is released and maneuvered to pre-installed anchors. After releasing the turbine (24), the vessel returns to a horizontal position by forcing the seawater out of the displacement tanks with compressed air.

See an animation of the process below.

Traditional offshore wind turbine transportation requires deep ocean depths due to the turbines’ draft. WindFlip allows pre-assembled wind turbines to be transported to offshore locations despite shallow or variable ocean depths.

Eric Lane is a patent attorney at Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps in San Diego and the author of Green Patent Blog. Mr. Lane can be reached at elane@luce.com.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.