WindFlip deploys offshore wind turbines the simplest way possible

Out in the ocean, stuff sinks. Usually this is a bad thing, but if you're a submarine or one of these newfangled wind turbine systems from WindFlip, sinking is exactly what you have in mind.

Part of the expense that comes with deploying wind turbines offshore is assembling them out there and then anchoring them to the seabed. The concept behind WindFlip is to do away with all of those seasick engineers, and completely assemble the turbine on land in advance. Then, the turbine gets put onto a specialized barge and towed out to sea at a blistering eight knots.

Once the be-turbined barge is on site, the it starts to sink. This is all on purpose, mind you, and the barge only half sinks, rotating to a vertical position as it does so. The turbine is floated off, towed into place, attached to a pre-installed mooring, and then that's it, you're good to go, and the barge can un-sink and go grab another turbine.

This half-sinking technique is already well established, and Office of Naval Research has been operating a ship (that people live on) that does it since 1962, called FLIP, for Floating Instrument Platform:


Since most of the buoyancy of FLIP comes from the sunken sections of the ship, it's more or less immune to waves, and a team of oceanographers can live self-sufficiently on the bit that sticks up out of the water for months at a time. When FLIP needs to go horizontal to be moved, compressed air is pumped into the submerged decks, forcing the water out and causing the ship to slowly right itself. The WindFlip barge employs the exact same technique.

Watch the WindFlip system in action in the video below.

WindFlip, via Inhabitat

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