Norwegian start-up's giant 117-turbine floating wind design adds $1m to warchest for launch

14 02 2023 | 07:03Darius Snieckus / RECHARGE

Wind Catching Systems' eponymous multi-rotor concept moves toward commercialisatioon with 'pre-project' finance from government-based Enova fund


Norwegian offshore energy technology start-up Wind Catching Systems (WCS) has landed NKr9.3m ($900,000) from the Nordic nation’s government-backed Enova fund to build a prototype of its innovative multi-turbine floating wind design.

The so-called ‘pre-project’ grant, underwritten by Norway’s ministry of climate and environment, will be used to validate of the eye-catching concept – built around 117 wind turbines mounted in a giant steel scaffold 300 metres high and 350 metres wide set on a floating platform – and flesh out cost calculations for a full-scale Windcatcher.

“The support from Enova is a strong validation of both our technology and our team. We are now fully focused on maturing our technology towards our first offshore installation,” said WCS CEO Ole Heggheim.

Engineered for the ferocious winds found in Europe’s northern seas, the Windcatcher promises to drive down floating wind’s levellised cost of energy to €40-60/MWh ($48-72/MWh) – a range generally forecast in the sector to likely be reached by the end of the decade .

Each Windcatcher is calulated capable of generating enough energy for 80,000 households, with an integrated substation in a “mother vessel” connecting all units and exporting power to land. There would also be the potential to adapt the field-level concept to a Power-to-X design for hydrogen production.

Multirotor concepts have been advanced by companies including Danish wind OEM Vestas, but in the floating space these have generally been limited to twin-turbine designs, including Hexicon’s TwinWind and Aerodyn’s Nezzy.

The latest Enova funding for WCS follows on from a NKr22m award secured last autumn and adds to $10m stumped up by US carmaker General Motors’ venture capital arm in August to commercialise the Windcatcher concept, the first of which is being built by offshore contractor Aibel.