Washington: VolturnUS, the first floating turbine intended to make electricity from the ocean winds, has been launched on the Penobscot River. This turbine is a prototype and the final version will be eight times larger with each blade longer than the wingspan of a Boeing 747.

The plan is to put 150 of these turbines far out in the sea, where winds are stronger and more consistent than on land, and have enough of these turbines to power Maine within 10 years.

Habib Dagher, who developed the technology at the University of Maine, said that in the Gulf of Maine the wind speed about 20 miles offshore is such that they have about 30 percent more energy every year than a turbine close to shores.

In Dagher's lab, students tested the prototype models for every possible obstacle, and even created a mini "perfect storm," with sustained winds up to 67 miles an hour. The turbines, which could float on the ocean for up to 100 years, are going to be the first in the world that are made of composite material to avoid rust.


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