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Hydroelectric Principle Power, Inc.'s WindFloat wind turbine platforms may be adapted for wave power, too.

Published on October 18th, 2009 | by Tina Casey

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Principle Power's WindFloat to Perform First Inter-Energy Marriage

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October 18th, 2009 by
 
Principle Power, Inc.\'s WindFloat wind turbine platforms may be adapted for wave power, too.Somewhere in the U.S. there is a justice of the peace who still refuses to perform inter-racial marriages, but Principle Power, Inc. has no such backward looking qualms when it comes marrying two different forms of sustainable energy.  Last week the company won a $750,000 development grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to adapt its patented WindFloat platform to bring wave energy generating capability on board, along with the wind turbines for which it was originally designed.

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Of particular interest to DOE is WindFloat’s innovative three-corner design, which stabilizes the platform against turbulence and enables it to be deployed in deep water where winds are more favorable to energy generation.  In addition to its obvious use in the civilian world, the marriage of wind and wave power may also prove fruitful for its application to the U.S. military’s need for non-petroleum energy sources at remote bases.

Principle Power and Floating Wind Turbine Platforms

Floating wind turbine platforms are attractive both for their access to more favorable winds and for their practical elimination of the NIMBY issue, since they can be sited over the horizon and out of sight.  The key issue, though, is the risk of damage through constant pitching and other stresses such as extreme weather.  Norway’s StatoilHydro is one company that seems to have addressed the problem, so Principle Power may have some catching up to do.  And it is: the company acquired the WindFloat technology just last April and it has moved rapidly to advance it into the sustainable energy market. The WindFloat concept has been in development for six years, including a hazard identification study completed this summer by the American Bureau of Shipping, the 150-year-old organization that sets standards for maritime safety.  WindFloat’s design is based on a floating platform of three columns, each of which is fitted with water entrapment heave plates at the bottom.  Along with a ballast system, the heave plates help reduce the movement of the platform.  WindFloat’s ability to withstand maritime stresses, along with any unforeseen accidents such as a collision, make it a good candidate for accommodating wave power as well.

Wind Power, and Wave Power, and the U.S. Military

Principle Power’s wind power-wave power project dovetails nicely with another DOE project under way through DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).  DARPA is looking to develop a number of maritime energy sources, such as a buoy-based surveillance unit that combines advanced energy storage capability with scavenged energy including wave, wind, and solar.  Given the human cost of fuel convoys in combat areas (think roadside bombs) and the exorbitant cost of transporting petroleum fuel to remote bases ($400 per gallon in Afghanistan, for example), the military’s investment in sustainable, harvested energy is bound to accelerate, with consequent benefits to the civilian world as well.

Image: Courtesy of Principle Power via ABS.

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About the Author

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



  • Piccinini Raoul

    One of the most interesting technologies, (for the production of energy from waves) uses a new project, produced by K.I. Energy ( info@kienergy.co.kr ) the new system, product in Korea, (presented to “Korea Green Energy Show” in Seoul- October 13 – 16, 2009, based in Busan, Republic of Korea, a city of six million people, facing the Pacific Ocean), produces for 1 Kmq, of the sea surface or ocean, at least 1 GW or more, (instant, 24 GW for day, GW 8.760 – year), production equal to 1 nuclear reactor of a 1GW, operating at 100 % throughout the year, which produces 8.7 TW, but without the drawbacks of nuclear power. This new company does not sell systems, the company sell energy and can be contacted by governments or companies producing or distributing energy.

    Best regards, Piccinini G. Raoul.

  • Piccinini Raoul

    One of the most interesting technologies, (for the production of energy from waves) uses a new project, produced by K.I. Energy ( info@kienergy.co.kr ) the new system, product in Korea, (presented to “Korea Green Energy Show” in Seoul- October 13 – 16, 2009, based in Busan, Republic of Korea, a city of six million people, facing the Pacific Ocean), produces for 1 Kmq, of the sea surface or ocean, at least 1 GW or more, (instant, 24 GW for day, GW 8.760 – year), production equal to 1 nuclear reactor of a 1GW, operating at 100 % throughout the year, which produces 8.7 TW, but without the drawbacks of nuclear power. This new company does not sell systems, the company sell energy and can be contacted by governments or companies producing or distributing energy.

    Best regards, Piccinini G. Raoul.

  • Uncle B

    American Military, an oil based enterprise, save for the very fine, and very safe reactors driving the Subs, and floating air-bases! Army however, went from foot to Cavalry to gas engines, then diesel. They will not accommodate changes well. I look to a peaceful world balanced by Nuclear “Mutual Destruction”, disarming and countering the baser instincts of mankind, and the end of the “Cheap Oil Era” rampage mankind is currently enduring. Each off-shore energy development must be tethered with very expensive wiring. I expect goddammit! NIMBY to pay for his clear sky’s at home! Maybe when this asshole’s power bill includes a hefty maintenance tax for teather cables he will relinquish his noble sensitivities, and trade them for more cash for food in his delicate tummy?

  • Uncle B

    American Military, an oil based enterprise, save for the very fine, and very safe reactors driving the Subs, and floating air-bases! Army however, went from foot to Cavalry to gas engines, then diesel. They will not accommodate changes well. I look to a peaceful world balanced by Nuclear “Mutual Destruction”, disarming and countering the baser instincts of mankind, and the end of the “Cheap Oil Era” rampage mankind is currently enduring. Each off-shore energy development must be tethered with very expensive wiring. I expect goddammit! NIMBY to pay for his clear sky’s at home! Maybe when this asshole’s power bill includes a hefty maintenance tax for teather cables he will relinquish his noble sensitivities, and trade them for more cash for food in his delicate tummy?

  • Arthur Malloy

    Why do I have the feeling that all the potential good that we can come up with becomes subverted by all the evil? ie: The Military. As long as we keeping thinking from a place of fear, we’re doomed. Something we all know, in our heart of hearts, deep, deep down. In a place we don’t want to admit. We know. We’re doomed. Your children? Doomed. Your grandchildren? More doomed.

  • Arthur Malloy

    Why do I have the feeling that all the potential good that we can come up with becomes subverted by all the evil? ie: The Military. As long as we keeping thinking from a place of fear, we’re doomed. Something we all know, in our heart of hearts, deep, deep down. In a place we don’t want to admit. We know. We’re doomed. Your children? Doomed. Your grandchildren? More doomed.

  • http://chocolateyarugula.blogspot.com Marya McQuirter

    While I find the energy content quite fascinating, I find the marriage references quite puzzling. See my post about it:

    http://chocolateyarugula.blogspot.com/2009/10/wind-and-wave-together.html

  • http://chocolateyarugula.blogspot.com Marya McQuirter

    While I find the energy content quite fascinating, I find the marriage references quite puzzling. See my post about it:

    http://chocolateyarugula.blogspot.com/2009/10/wind-and-wave-together.html

  • majortom1981

    How does it not tip over since the windmill is on one corner?

    Also couldnt they marry solar with wind power? Use the thin solar film on the pole of the wind turbine and on the top to generate solar when its not windy?

  • majortom1981

    How does it not tip over since the windmill is on one corner?

    Also couldnt they marry solar with wind power? Use the thin solar film on the pole of the wind turbine and on the top to generate solar when its not windy?

  • Captain Morgan

    Interesting technology … didn’t really need your political views on inter-racial marriage, however.

  • Captain Morgan

    Interesting technology … didn’t really need your political views on inter-racial marriage, however.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Congrats Wind and Waves! May this be a very long and happy union!

  • Zachary Shahan

    cool. thanks for this, Tina! :)

  • Susan Kraemer

    Congrats Wind and Waves! May this be a very long and happy union!

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