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By: john heath | July 19, 2020

he U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the University of Texas at Dallas with a USD 3.3 million grant for its vertical axis floating offshore wind turbine.

The award is part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and will be used for designing and building the turbine prototype.

Designed by Dr. Todd Griffith, the turbine has vertical blades and axis of rotation, and the platform, which is smaller than traditional ones, sits partly above the sea’s surface and partly below, like a ship.

According to the University of Texas at Dallas, it is attached to the seafloor with cables under ocean depths of at least 200 feet. The generator and controls are on the platform, providing greater stability and facilitating easier maintenance.

The blades would rise between 600 and 700 feet above the ocean’s surface but could reach as high as 900 feet. Griffith said the turbines would not obstruct ocean views because they would be at least 20 miles from the coast, past the horizon.

“A traditional turbine design is great for land, and it can make sense offshore in shallow waters, but when you build in deep water in the ocean, you need a totally new design,” said Griffith, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.

“We’re bringing together structural design, aerodynamics, control systems, floating systems, economics and installation procedures. It’s a true systems-level engineering problem.”

UT Dallas researchers are working with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and corporate partners Aquanis Inc., VL Offshore and XFlow Energy.


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