Are floating wind turbines the future of wind energy?
On land and at sea, wind turbines provide sustainable electricity. In addition to classic onshore and offshore plants, one other option to charter entirely new territory for wind energy in geographically difficult areas at sea: floating wind turbines. They hold great potential for expanding renewable energies but also host specific requirements for important components such as slewing bearings. Our colleagues at thyssenkrupp rothe erde ensure that floating wind turbines develop their full potential on the high seas.
So-called floating wind turbines differ from conventional offshore turbines primarily in their greater distance from the coast. As their name suggests, floating turbines are not erected on fixed foundations anchored to the seabed but are built on floating platforms instead. Heavy-duty chains anchored to the seabed help keep the turbines in place during harsh winds and rough weather.
More energy and less stress for marine animals
This makes the construction of floating wind turbines largely independent of sea depth. The turbines can also be positioned far away from coastal areas, using previously undeveloped areas. "Wind strengths on the high seas are bigger than in coastal areas. For energy production floating wind turbines can generate more energy," explains Peter Küpper, Vice President Sales & Marketing Teams of thyssenkrupp rothe erde at the Dortmund site. In addition, the construction of floating wind turbines is less invasive for the environment and marine animals, as the installation generates less noise than the construction of permanently anchored foundations on the seabed.
Challenges of floating wind turbines
When the wind blows more strongly at sea, the turbines also have to withstand very different conditions. "Far out at sea, the climatic conditions are naturally harsher," explains the expert. The wind turbines and their components, such as blade and rotor bearings from thyssenkrupp rothe erde, are specially developed for these harsh conditions. "A particular focus is on the corrosion resistance of the slewing bearings, " says Peter Küpper.
For the demands and harsh conditions, the traditional company with more than 160 years of experience in the production of slewing bearings provides its customers with special underwater mooring bearings with an innovative sealing concept.
Each delivery is unique: "The loads and operating conditions to be taken into account are agreed in specifications together with our customers. Based on this, the best possible bearing solutions are developed individually for the respective system," explains Küpper.
The highest quality materials and products are a matter of course for the thyssenkrupp rothe erde experts. To ensure that their components can withstand the harsh climatic conditions and massive forces to which they are exposed on the high seas, the experts carry out tests under real conditions. The world's largest research and development center for slewing bearings is located at the Lippstadt site, where the giant bearings are put through their paces.
Opportunities and potentials of floating wind turbines
Floating turbines are becoming increasingly important, especially for markets such as Japan. The very steep coastline there makes the construction of floating plants much easier than the construction of fixed anchor stations. Floating turbines can thus open up new areas for energy generation. This offers enormous potential for wind energy worldwide.
To drive this development forward, thyssenkrupp rothe erde is also supporting projects such as the 1:10 pilot project Nezzy², which was designed and built by aerodyn engineering Gmbh with partner EnBW. A milestone: After all, this is the first floating offshore turbine in Germany with two turbines on one platform.
thyssenkrupp rothe erde as a reliable partner
As demand for renewable energies increases worldwide, the experts at thyssenkrupp rothe erde also continuously develop their products. "We see a trend - particularly in offshore wind turbines - toward ever larger turbines with ever higher power classes," explains Küpper. "This will also continue to require a great deal of technical know-how from component manufacturers."
The expert is certain: With 160 years of experience producing large-diameter bearings, thyssenkrupp rothe erde has the technical expertise and necessary experience to drive sustainable energy production. "We have been a partner to our customers since the very beginning. This means we can look back on long-standing relationships characterized by mutual respect and trust," says Peter Küpper.
As one of the few suppliers of slewing bearings, thyssenkrupp rothe erde's colleagues can offer their customers a comprehensive product portfolio. From production to delivery, installation, and maintenance services, the slewing bearing experts are there to support their customers. "On the one hand, we offer local proximity, but on the other hand we also have a global production and sales network," says Küpper.
Do you want to experience our innovations for wind power up close? Then visit us at Windenergy in Hamburg from September 27 to 30, 2022 - Hall B6, Booth B6.232.