Early Offshore Wind Research
Some of the earliest detailed planning work on the potential of offshore wind energy was done here at the University by Professor William Heronemus in the early 1970s. Professor Heronemus examined the concepts of offshore wind turbines mounted on spar buoys anchored to the sea floor, as well as multi-rotor systems.
Work was also conducted on far-offshore wind farm concepts in which electricity would be used to produce hydrogen for storage and transfer to shore, an early attempt to address a potential solution — storage via hydrogen — to a critical problem with offshore wind: cable length and its attendant problems of cost, deployment, and power loss.
Close to 40 years later, floating wind farms are becoming a reality, as indicated in this exciting news from Fall 2009:
“Norwegian Company StatoilHydro has announced the building of the world’s first full scale floating wind turbine, called Hywind, which will be tested over a two-year period offshore Karmoy in Norway.” Read more...
1970s conceptual drawings by Professor William Heronemus and graduate research assistants.