UMaine Engineers Testing First Ever Floating Wind Turbine
University of Maine Engineers are working on something big. They’re manufacturing what will be the first ever floating wind turbine in the country. They’re trying to harness a huge energy resource that already exists just off of Maine’s coastline.Director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center Habib Dagher said, “We have the equivalent of 150 nuclear power plants worth of wind blowing off the coast of Maine. It only takes two nuclear power plants to power the whole state, that’s how big that resource is.”Which is why students and faculty have been busy trying to test their designs and ideas to reign that power in.”We’re making history here and it’s all been started out by a few of us here and it’s grown to include over 50 students and numerous faculty,” said Anthony Viselli, a UMaine engineer working on the turbine system.This summer, they’ll release the first ever turbine, which is really just another test. The actual deep shore floating wind turbines they’re designing will be eight times the size of the test turbine, with blades the height of the Washington Monument.These giant turbines are designed to be placed at least 20 miles offshore, beyond the horizon line.”You will not be able to see them, you will not be able to hear them, so nobody will know they’re there essentially, but they’re out there creating clean, renewable energy to power our state,” said Dagher.Their goal is to have the technology ready so a commercial scale wind park, made up of more than 80 turbines, can be floating by 2030.Graduate student Racheal Joyce said, “There’s a lot of work that’s ahead, but it’s exciting work and I think the progress that we’ve seen so far is really what’s keeping us going and excited for the next step and the next step.”Because they know someday their hard work will mean big things for the future of how we create and use energy.