Maine Patent of the Month – October 2021

There are many devices that float along the coast and are impacted by ocean waves. These devices still need a sense of stability to ensure they function properly. Offshore winds are being used to farm energy as they are both stronger and more consistent than winds experienced on land. Some of these floating devices include wave-energy converters (WEC) or offshore floating wind turbine (FWT) bases which are beat around by waves and wind. Rohrer Technologies, Inc. has designed an apparatus capable of stabilizing these buoyant WECs and FWTs.

Their design uses a cantilevered tension-leg stabilizer. A cantilever is a rigid structural element that extends horizontally and is supported at only one end, so the tension-leg is supported at one end. It allows the WEC or FWT to self-orient or weathervane itself to maintain its orientation compared to the oncoming waves and wind. A second submerged buoyant body is connected with tension to the seabed connection. This buoy is submerged substantially below the still water line and prevents the WEC or FWT from experiencing vertical upheaval and stabilizes in this direction. The tension leg platform can have three to four seabed-affixed tensioned legs which work in tandem to achieve total stabilization. Between the horizontal and vertical stabilization, the WEC or FWTs experience significantly improved efficiency as they are no longer beat around by the elements.

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