Flipping Over Offshore Wind Turbines

WindFlip AS is a Norwegian company that has developed WindFlip, a novel approach to transporting pre-assembled wind turbines to offshore locations.

The approach is described in International Application Publication No. WO 2011/051804, entitled “Partially Submersible Wind Turbine Transport Vessel” (‘804 Application).

WindFlip is a specialized barge for transporting assembled offshore wind turbines. The assembled wind turbine (24) is transported on a turbine transport vessel (10) in a nearly horizontal position, as shown below in Figure 1 of the ‘804 Application.

Once the vessel (10) reaches its destination, it tilts to a vertical position using seawater.  More particularly, twenty-nine air-filled displacement tanks are located in the hull (22) of the vessel (10). 

The displacement tanks are sequentially filled with seawater, sinking the stern (16) of the vessel (10) and the base of the turbine (24), until both are at a vertical position, as shown in Figure 4.

Once the turbine (24) and vessel (10) are oriented approximately 90 degrees to the sea surface, the turbine (24) is released and maneuvered to pre-installed anchors.  After releasing the turbine (24), the vessel returns to a horizontal position by forcing the seawater out of the displacement tanks with compressed air.

See an animation of the process here.

Traditional offshore wind turbine transportation requires deep ocean depths due to the turbines’ draft. WindFlip allows pre-assembled wind turbines to be transported to offshore locations despite shallow or variable ocean depths.

David Gibbs* Avatar

Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.