ORONO — The one-eighth scale prototype of a floating wind turbine unveiled Wednesday will change the wind power world, its developers asserted.

Habib Dagher, director of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, revealed the foundation of the center’s floating wind turbine technology and the prototype for a future five-gigawatt deepwater wind development in the Gulf of Maine.

The three-spoked hull is made of lightweight, foam-filled concrete, according to Joshua Clapp, a research engineer at the center who works with three-dimensional models of the turbine’s central hexagonal core. The hull will support a turbine designed to last 100 years, compared to the 25-year life span of offshore wind turbines in use in Europe.

Dagher said they gave the turbine the name “Volturnus” after the Roman god of the east wind and because the name combines “volt,” “turn and “U.S.”

“It will provide a paradigm shift in offshore wind technology,” Dagher said.

Today, at twice the cost of land-based wind developments, offshore wind is too expensive. Dagher and his team want to change that, and the DeepCwind Consortium has a goal of producing renewable energy at competitive rates (10 cents per kilowatt-hour).

“That’s why we’re using composites. That’s why we are using concrete. We can fabricate and assemble the VolturnUS dockside,” said Dagher.

If anyone knows how to rig an unveiling, it’s engineers.

A 125-foot wind turbine blade extended from one wall of the airplane-hangar-sized building, and I-beams and steel frames used for strength and stress testing stretched toward the ceiling.

After remarks by University of Maine President Paul Ferguson, Cianbro CEO and Chair Peter Vigue, and Maine’s congressional delegation, Dagher pulled away the blue-tarp curtain to reveal the technology that’s been five years in development.

Ferguson congratulated the enterprise of students, faculty, staff and dozens of private sector partners, including the Island Institute and Cianbro, whose staff worked side by side with UMaine students and professionals to build VolturnUS. The effort is the result of more than $30 million in federal funding, secured with the help of Maine’s congressional delegation.

At the end of May, the pieces will be brought to Cianbro’s facility in South Brewer, where crews will assemble the full 65-foot turbine and place it on a barge for transport down the Penobscot River. At Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, VolturnUS will become the first offshore floating wind turbine to generate electricity in the United States.

Catherine Schmitt is communication coordinator for Maine Sea Grant and teaches at the University of Maine.