The Anonymous Widower

The Secret Of The TwinHub

I was reading about the TwinHub, which is a pair of wind turbines, that are to be mounted on a single float.

There is an explanatory video on the TwinHub home page. Just scroll the page down and you’ll find a full page video, that is rather beautiful and slightly hypnotic.

But note how it stops and starts in the wind and turns itself into a position, so that it is generating the maximum amount of wind.

So how does it do that?

It is not by clever computers and a whole host of actuators, but by good old-fashioned aerodynamics.

Above the video, there is a picture of the sea, with these words underneath.

This demonstration project will be located at the Wave Hub site, and will consist of two floating platforms anchored to the seabed. Each floating platform will host two turbines with inclined towers. The total installed capacity will be between 30 to 40 MW.

Two words are the key to the design – inclined towers.

The wind will apply a force to each turbine and because the towers are inclined, this will apply a force, that will turn the turbines so they are facing the wind. This will maximise the power generated.

The design is elegant, efficient and enchanting.

I can see the TwinHub becoming an unusual tourist attraction in Cornwall.

 

November 30, 2022 Posted by | Design, Energy | , , | 1 Comment

MingYang Turbines to Spin on Hexicon’s Floating Offshore Wind Project

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on offshoreWIND.biz.

This is the sub-heading, which outlines MingYang’s part in the project.

Hexicon has selected China-headquartered Mingyang Smart Energy (Mingyang) as the preferred turbine supplier for its flagship 32 MW TwinHub floating offshore wind project in the UK.

These two paragraphs add more detail.

Hexicon has also awarded Mingyang the wind turbine generator Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) contract for the project, which is located 16 kilometres off the coast of Cornwall, England.

TwinHub will use Hexicon’s TwinWind floating foundation technology which will allow two of Mingyang’s MySE 8.0-180 wind turbines to be placed on a single foundation, which could enable more energy to be generated in a given area while reducing the environmental impact compared with a single foundation.

It’s rather a pity, that Swedish company; Hexicon should be using Chinese turbines and design contracts.

  • I’m sure that one of the European manufacturers could have supplied 8 MW turbines.
  • Some might even have parts made in the UK.

Perhaps, Hexicon see China as a major market for their TwinHub floating foundation technology.

On the other hand, I have experience of doing the floatation mathematics for large structures from my work with Balaena Structures in the 1970s and feel they are not as straightforward as some might think. But Hexicon may feel their design doesn’t hold any secrets!

November 21, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Do All Wind Turbines Have To Be Similar?

I feel this is a reasonable question to ask.

But do all wind turbines have to look like those in this picture?

Wikipedia lists three main types.

  1. Horizontal Axis – Those in the picture are of this type, as are all the large wind turbines I’ve seen in operation.
  2. Vertical Axis – Wikipedia shows several examples.
  3. Unconventional Types

Recently, I have come across some which would be placed in the last group.

Hybrid Offshore Wind And Wave Energy Systems

This article on the Journal of Physics is entitled Review of Hybrid Offshore Wind and Wave Energy Systems, is a study from serious academics.

This is the abstract.

Hybrid wind wave systems combine offshore wind turbines with wave energy on a shared platform. These systems optimize power production at a single location by harnessing both the wind and the waves. Wave energy is currently at an earlier development stage than offshore wind. Research in this area is focused in wave energy converters being used for platform motion suppression of floating offshore wind turbines. Wave energy converters can passively shelter offshore wind turbines from waves and can also be actively controlled to reduce the system loads. Additionally, a small amount of supplemental power may be generated, which can be used for offshore wind turbine local power needs. There may be future benefits to these hybrid systems, but at this stage wave energy may increase the project cost and risk of offshore wind turbines. Hybrid wind wave system research and development is discussed, with a focus on floating offshore wind turbines. Additionally, two ocean demonstration scale hybrid wind and wave systems are discussed as case studies: the Poseidon Wave and Wind system and the W2Power system. Hybrid wind wave systems show potential to be part of the future of offshore wind energy.

Note.

  1. Wave energy development is at an earlier stage than offshore wind.
  2. Wave energy converters can passively shelter offshore wind turbines from waves and can also be actively controlled to reduce the system loads.
  3. There is more about Poseidon on this page on the Tethys web site.
  4. There is more about W2Power on the Pelagic Power web site.

The last sentence of the abstract is significant and I believe that hybrid offshore wind and wave energy will play a significant part in the future of offshore energy.

Wind Turbines With Added Storage

Critics and cynics of wind power always ask, what happens, when the wind doesn’t blow.

It is generally accepted, that the best thing to do is to pair a wind farm with some form of energy storage.

Technologies and solar and/or wind farms with energy storage are starting to be proposed and/or installed.

More energy storage will be added in the future in or near to wind and solar farms.

Twin Turbines

This document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy lists all the Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 4 results for the supply of zero-carbon electricity.

One of the projects allocated a Contract for Difference, was the 32 MW TwinHub wind turbine, which I wrote about in Hexicon Wins UK’s First Ever CfD Auction For Floating Offshore Wind.

A full scale twin turbine hasn’t been built yet, but it does seem promising and the visualisations are impressive.

Scroll down on the TwinHub home page to see a video.

World Wide Wind

I’ll let the images on the World Wide Wind web site do the talking.

But who would have thought, that contrarotating wind turbines, set at an angle in the sea would work?

This is so unusual, it might just work very well.

Conclusion

There will be other unusual concepts in the future.

 

October 2, 2022 Posted by | Design, Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Accelerating The Delivery Of Offshore Wind Farms

It is one of Kwasi Kwarteng’s ambitions to accelerate the delivery of offshore wind farms.

In The Growth Plan 2022, these groups of wind farms are mentioned.

  • Remaining Round 3 Projects
  • Round 4 Projects
  • Extension Projects
  • Scotwind Projects
  • INTOG Projects
  • Floating Wind Commercialisation Projects
  • Celtic Sea Projects

My thinking in this post, will probably apply to all of these groups.

These are my thoughts.

Accelerating Delivery Of A Wind Farm

This will have these positive effects.

  • Electricity will be delivered earlier.
  • Customers will have a more secure supply of electricity.
  • The wind farm owner will start to be paid for their electricity.
  • The Crown Estate will start to be paid for their leases. Although, these might start at signing.
  • National Grid will be paid for the transmission of the electricity.
  • An energy storage company could be paid for storing surplus electricity.
  • Construction teams and engineers can move on to the next project.
  • Expensive construction hardware like ship-mounted cranes will no longer be needed.
  • I also suspect that the government will raise some taxes from the various companies involved.

It looks like it’ll be winners all round.

How Will Delivery Be Accelerated?

These are some thoughts.

Overall Project Time

In How Long Does It Take To Build An Offshore Wind Farm?, I came to these conclusions.

  • It will take six years or less from planning consent to commissioning.
  • It will take two years or less from the start of construction to commissioning.

I suspect that as we have been building offshore wind farms for some years, that it will be very difficult to reduce these times significantly.

But as some wind farms take quite a few years to progress from the initial proposal to planning consent, I suspect that improvements to the planning process may speed up the overall construction time of a wind farm.

Project And Resource Management

Good project and resource management will always help.

Better Design And Construction Methods

I always remember in the early days of North Sea Oil, being told by a very experienced project manager that construction of production platforms was accelerated by the availability of larger and more powerful cranes.

Are we approaching the design of the ultimate wind farm? I doubt it, as in the last few months, I’ve seen two very radical new designs.

In Hexicon Wins UK’s First Ever CfD Auction For Floating Offshore Wind, I show this image of one of their TwinHub turbine installations being towed into place.

The TwinHub home page has a title of The First Floating Offshore Wind Project in The Celtic Sea.

This is the description on the page.

The TwinHub offshore wind demonstration project intends to prove how Hexicon’s innovative design with two turbines on one floating foundation can further reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy (also referred to as LCoE) before large scale commercialisation. The TwinHub project is a stepping stone to help kick-start floating wind in the Celtic Sea, an area identified as a hotspot for floating wind by the UK Government. It will pave the path for larger and larger projects to help support The Crown Estates’ ambitious target of 4GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea.

Scroll the page down and there is a fascinating short video of a pair of wind turbines in operation.

  • It appears that when there is no wind, it automatically goes into a safe parked mode.
  • As the wind rises, one turbine starts up.
  • The second turbine starts up and the float turns so they face the wind.

It appears to be a classic example of disruptive innovation.

I have a feeling that this type of installation might have generation, assembly and cost advantages over a single turbine mounted on a single float.

RCAM Technologies are also creating interesting designs for mounting turbines and energy storage using 3D-printed concrete.

What Ts The UK Government Doing To Accelerate Projects?

This article on offshoreWIND.biz, was published in late September 2022 and is entitled BREAKING: UK Puts Massive Amount Of New Offshore Wind Capacity On Fast Track and this is the first paragraph.

The UK will speed up planning and development consent processes for projects from the recently completed, currently ongoing, and upcoming (floating) offshore wind leasing rounds to bring new energy capacity online faster and facilitate economic growth and job creation.

The article is based on what Kwasi Kwateng said on the 23rd of September about speeding up projects in the 2022 Growth Plan.

A Quick Summary Of Our Wind Energy

The article has this paragraph, which summarises our wind energy.

For the UK, which currently has around 14 GW of offshore wind capacity in operation and 8 GW under construction, the projects from the listed auction rounds could bring well beyond the targeted capacity for 2030, which was recently raised to 50 GW.

I can see the target being raised again to at least 60 GW.

 

September 30, 2022 Posted by | Design, Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is INTOG?

This page on the Crown Estate Scotland web site outlines INTOG.

This is the introduction at the top of the page.

Innovation and Targeted Oil & Gas (INTOG) is a leasing round for offshore wind projects that will directly reduce emissions from oil & gas production and boost further innovation.

Developers can apply for seabed rights to build two types of offshore wind project:

IN – Small scale, innovative projects, of less than 100MW

TOG – Projects connected directly to oil and gas infrastructure, to provide electricity and reduce the carbon emissions associated with production

INTOG is designed, in response to demand from government and industry, to help achieve the targets of the North Sea Transition Sector Deal, which is a sector deal between government and the offshore oil and gas industry.

I have a few thoughts and have also found some news stories.

Isolated Communities

This document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy lists all the Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 4 results for the supply of zero-carbon electricity that were announced yesterday.

The document introduces the concept of Remote Island Wind, which I wrote about in The Concept Of Remote Island Wind.

I don’t know of one, but there might be isolated communities, with perhaps a dodgy power supply, who might like to improve this, by means of a small offshore wind farm, meeting perhaps these criteria.

  • Less than 100 MW.
  • Agreement of the locals.
  • A community fund.
  • An important use for the electricity.

Locations and applications could be.

  • A small fishing port, where winds regularly bring the grid cable down in winter.
  • A village with a rail station to perhaps charge battery-electric trains.
  • A deep loch, where floating wind turbines are erected.
  • To provide hydrogen for transport.

We shall see what ideas are put forward.

Floating Power Stations

Floating wind farms are generally made up of individual turbines on floats.

  • Turbines can be up to the largest used onshore or on fixed foundations.
  • The Kincardine floating offshore wind farm in Scotland uses 9.5 MW turbines.
  • The floats are anchored to the sea bed.
  • There is a power cable connecting the turbines appropriately to each other, the shore or an offshore substation.

But we are talking innovation here, so we might see some first-of-a-kind ideas.

Single Floating Turbines

A large floating wind farm, is effectively a large number of floating wind turbines anchored in the same area of sea, and connected to the same floating or fixed substation.

I can’t see any reason, why a single floating wind turbine couldn’t be anchored by itself to provide local power.

It might even be connected to an onshore or subsea energy store, so that it provided a more constant output.

Surely, a single turbine perhaps ten miles offshore wouldn’t be a very large blot on the seascape?

I grew up in Felixstowe and got used to seeing HM Fort Roughs on the horizon from the beach. That is seven miles offshore and some people, I know have windsurfed around it from the beach.

TwinHub

I talked about TwinHub in Hexicon Wins UK’s First Ever CfD Auction For Floating Offshore Wind.

TwinHub mounts two turbines on one float and this is a visualisation of a TwinHub being towed into place.

Note.

  1. The design turns into the wind automatically, so that the maximum amount of electricity is generated.
  2. A Contract for Difference for a 32 MW TwinHub has been awarded, at a strike price of £87.30/MWh, that will be installed near Hayle in Cornwall.
  3. With a capacity factor of 50 %, that will produce just over 140,160 MWh per year or over £12 million per year.

This article on the BBC, which is entitled Funding Secured For Floating Wind Farm Off Cornwall, gives more details of the Hayle TwinHub.

The possibility of a floating wind farm off the coast of Cornwall has moved a step closer after securing government funding, project bosses have said.

Swedish company Hexicon plans to install its TwinHub system, with the hope it could begin operating in 2025.

It would be deployed about 10 miles (16km) off Hayle.

Project supporters said it could be a boost to the local economy and help establish Cornwall in the growing renewable energy sector.

Figures have not been released, but it is understood the government funding has effectively secured a fixed price for the power TwinHub would produce for 15 years, making it economically viable.

The article says that this 32 MW system could develop enough electricity for 45,000 homes.

This could be a very suitable size for many applications.

  • As at Hayle, one could be floated just off the coast to power a remote part of the country. As Cornwall has a few old mine shafts, it might even be backed up by a Gravitricity system on shore or another suitable non-lithium battery.
  • Could one float alongside an oil or gas platform and be tethered to it, to provide the power?

Scotland’s hydroelectric power stations, prove that not all power stations have to be large to be successful.

Vårgrønn and Flotation Energy’s Joint Bid

This article on offshoreWIND.biz is entitled Vårgrønn And Flotation Energy To Jointly Bid in INTOG Leasing Round, gives a few details about their joint bid.

But there is nothing substantial about ideas and locations.

I can see several joint ventures with a suitable system, bidding for various projects around the Scottish coast.

Cerulean

Cerulean sounds like it could be a sea monster, but it is a shade of blue.

This article on offshoreWind.biz is entitled Cerulean Reveals 6 GW Floating Offshore Wind Bid Under INTOG Leasing Round.

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Green energy infrastructure developer Cerulean Winds has revealed it will bid for four seabed lease sites with a combined capacity of 6 GW of floating wind to decarbonise the UK’s oil and gas sector under Crown Estate Scotland’s Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) leasing round.

This scale will remove more emissions quickly, keep costs lower for platform operators and provide the anchor for large-scale North-South offshore transmission, Cerulean Winds said.

Note.

  1. It is privately-funded project, that needs no government subsidy and will cost £30 billion.
  2. It looks like each site will be a hundred turbines.
  3. If they’re the same, they could be 1.5 GW each.
  4. Each site will need £7.5 billion of investment. So it looks like Cerulean have access to a similar magic money tree as Kwasi Kwarteng.

Effectively, they’re building four 1.5 GW power stations in the seas around us to power a large proportion of the oil and gas rigs.

For more on Cerulean Winds’ massive project see Cerulean Winds Is A Different Type Of Wind Energy Company.

Will There Be An Offshore Wind Supermarket?

I can see the big turbine, float and electrical gubbins manufacturers establishing a one-stop shop for developers, who want to install small wind farms, that meet the INTOG criteria.

So suppose, the archetypal Scottish laird in his castle on his own island wanted a 6 MW turbine to go green, he would just go to the B & Q Offshore web site and order what he needed. It would then be towed into place and connected to his local grid.

I can see modular systems being developed, that fit both local infrastructure and oil and gas platforms.

Conclusion

I can see scores of projects being submitted.

I even know the son of a Scottish laird, whose father owns a castle on an island, who could be taking interest in INTOG. They might also apply under Remote Island Wind in another leasing round.

But we will have to wait until the end of March 2023, to find out who have been successful.

September 29, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Hexicon Wins UK’s First Ever CfD Auction For Floating Offshore Wind

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Hexicon.

This is the first paragraph.

Today (7th of July) the UK Government confirmed that Hexicon AB’s TwinHub project in the Celtic Sea was successful in the latest Contracts for Difference (CfD) Allocation Round (AR4). It has been awarded a CfD for its 32MW floating wind project at a strike price of £87.30/MWh (2012 real prices) taking the project a significant step closer to completion.

This image shows one of their TwinHub turbine installations being towed into place.

The TwinHub home page has a title of The First Floating Offshore Wind Project in The Celtic Sea.

This is the description on the page.

The TwinHub offshore wind demonstration project intends to prove how Hexicon’s innovative design with two turbines on one floating foundation can further reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy (also referred to as LCoE) before large scale commercialisation. The TwinHub project is a stepping stone to help kick-start floating wind in the Celtic Sea, an area identified as a hotspot for floating wind by the UK Government. It will pave the path for larger and larger projects to help support The Crown Estates’ ambitious target of 4GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea.

Scroll the page down and there is a short video of a pair of wind turbines in operation.

  • It appears that when there is no wind, it automatically goes into a safe parked mode.
  • As the wind rises, one turbine starts up.
  • The second turbine starts up and the float turns so they face the wind.

It appears to be a classic example of disruptive innovation.

I did the calculations for floating and reusable oil and gas platforms in the 1970s, that were designed by two Cambridge University professors, which would have been launched horizontally and upturned when in position. This experience leads me to believe that the Swedish designers of this type of platform have been able to verify that this is a workable design.

This document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy indicates that the demonstration is for 32 MW.

Does that indicate, that this installation is twin 16 MW wind turbines?

16 MW seems to be the size of the largest wind turbines in the world.

There is a lot to like about this Swedish design.

  • As the video shows, it appears to balance itself with the wind.
  • I suspect from the calculations I did in Cambridge, that the twin design with its higher weight is more stable than a floating single turbine design.
  • The float and its two turbines can be assembled alongside a dock with a large stable onshore dockside crane.
  • Servicing would also be done in a dock.
  • Working onshore is much safer and easier, than working offshore.
  • The twin design allows more power to be generated in a given area of sea.

This is a brilliant concept and it will give Putin, the Sheikhs and the other oil dictators, the most terrible of nightmares.

The initial site chosen for this design in the UK, will be in the sea at Hayle in Cornwall.

This map shows the location.

Hayle is in the North-East corner of the map, by the sandy beach.

A 32 MW turbine could probably provide enough electricity for 15,000 houses.

July 8, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | 8 Comments