Floating Ocean Wind Turbines Could Power The Entire World, Researchers Say


According to the research, the majority of energy captured by large wind farms originates high up in the atmosphere and is transported downwards to the surface where the turbines are able to generate the energy from the strong winds.

"The question was, is there something about the atmosphere or the ocean that allows it to bring down more wind energy to wind farms?"

Two US researchers calculated that a monster wind farm spread across three million square kilometres of the ocean - a region roughly the size of India - would yield an average power output of 18 terawatts (TW) per year. In the North Atlantic, however, the limit would be much higher - more than six watts per square meter.

Charlie Zender, a physicist at the University of California, praised the theoretical potential of the research but said the "relevance to energy policy is low" citing the extremely high construction, operation and maintenance costs of building floating wind farms which would be further compounded by the density of turbines required in the research.

The Independent reports that this is possible because more heat pours into the atmosphere above the North Atlantic Ocean.

A new study has concluded that if humans built turbines in the open ocean, they could generate more energy than they already do in the land.

"We found that giant ocean-based wind farms are able to tap into the energy of the winds throughout much of the atmosphere, whereas wind farms onshore remain constrained by the near-surface wind resources", said co-author Anna Possner. The extremity emanates both because unprocessed and constructed structure on land create abrasion that decelerate the wind speed but also due to the factor that each distinctive wind turbine withdraws some of the energy of the wind and converts it into the power that can be utilized vacating a smaller extent of wind energy for other turbines to gather. Despite this, enough energy would still be generated to meet the electricity demands of all countries in the European Union.

A giant wind farm in the North Atlantic would have to operate in "remote and harsh conditions" with wave heights frequently exceeding three metres (9.8ft), the researchers said. However, during the summer months the same turbines would likely only produce enough power to support Europe or possibly the United States.