Multi-rotor wind turbine trialled

May 3, 2016

Lower cost energy from wind could emerge from a new multi-rotor concept from Danish wind technology giant Vestas. The concept sees several sets of blades mounted on a single tower and foundation.

Installation of Vestas’ concept demonstrator turbine at a test site in Denmark
Installation of Vestas’ concept demonstrator turbine at a test site in Denmark

Working with the Technical University of Denmark, Vestas is installing a concept demonstrator to test the technical feasibility of operating and controlling a multi-rotor turbine.

With this concept demonstrator, Vestas says it is challenging the core scaling ‘rules’ that turbines have to grow in size to increase their energy output, as well as transport and installation challenges in some markets.

Jorge Magalhaes, senior vice president, explained: “This process of continuous innovation and exploration is extremely important. Ultimately, the goal is to assess if we can build an even more cost-efficient turbine by challenging the scaling rules.”

The demonstrator is being erected at a test site near Roskilde, Denmark, where it will be studied in the coming years to test specific functionalities.

Many new load and control features will need to be developed, tested, and proven to assess the technical and eventually the commercial feasibility of the concept, Vestas adds.

Editor’s comment: Conventional wisdom suggests that wind energy costs have been steadily reduced as turbines have become larger. Indeed, while the world’s most installed turbine is a 1.5 MW unit from GE, plans for 7.5 MW machines and even 20 MW units have been mooted. The challenge is the massive engineering required and the logistics and infrastructure needed to transport and install such huge pieces of equipment. Vestas aims to challenge that convention by effectively increasing the swept area whilst keeping rotor sizes manageable.

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