ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Some scientists consider offshore wind one of the largest untapped natural resources. Habib Dagher, the Director of the University of Maine's Advanced Structure and Composite Center is one of them.Now, thanks to the University and more than 30 partners, a first of its kind unit has been constructed to put wind to good use.
It's is the country's first floating water turbine, constructed to utilize the off shore wind that Maine has.
"The challenge in capturing that is that it's over deep water, relatively 300 ft., so you have to float turbines to get them out there you cant use fixed structure," said Anthony Viselli, staff engineer.
When the tower and turbine are added, the unit will stand at 65ft. What's in red will be below water, and the yellow is all that will be seen above the surface. The unit is a test for what's still to come
"The whole purpose of building a 1/8th model is to see if our predictive models pan out," said Wood Composites Manager, Russell Edgar.
And if all goes well, Habib Dagher plans to place a full-size unit in the water in 2016. The unit would be taller than the Washington Monument, over 600 ft. tall, with a rotor diameter of one-and-a-half football fields.
"If that is successful, it could grow into an industry in Maine and also beyond in the country if it proves out to be cost effective and a reliable way to get offshore winds back to the grid on shore," said Viselli.
Dagher hopes to have 160 6-megawatt units off the coast by 2020, bringing winds of change to a region looking for new sources of energy.