The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) of the UK has chosen Blade Dynamics, a wind turbine developer also from the UK to design and develop the technology to build what would become the longest turbine blades in the world.
Measuring in the range of 80 to 100 metres, these would be much longer than the usual 60 to about 75 metres. It is planned that these next-gen wind turbines would be used in newer offshore wind turbines currently under development and will likely produce about 8 to 10 MW, rather than the present 5 or 6 MW for current turbine lengths.
In order to construct these wind turbines from more easily-made and accurate component pieces which will later be assembled, these turbines would make use of carbon fibre and not the usual fibre glass which rather have to undergo large and costly full-length mouldings.
Blade Dynamics’ David Cripps, the Senior Technical Manager explained that work on this project has been on-going for the past few years but the financial backing of ETI has accelerated their development since it would allow for the hiring of new technologists and engineers to assist in the project.
This would result in production of the blades being begun by late 2014, far ahead of schedule, as earlier noted by Cripps. This development shows that much financial backing is required to help accelerate the production of some of these innovative technologies to place renewable energy to the forefront in the energy production industry.
Weighing in at about 40% less than conventional models, these glass-fibre blades will have reduced cost due to reduced weight, which will also lead to reduced cost of energy production by the blades.
Paul Trinick, ETI’s Offshore Wind Project manager emphasized the point that offshore wind has a large role to play in energy generation in the UK, so long production costs can be kept low. He stated, “Investing in this project to develop larger, more efficient blades is a key step for the whole industry in paving the way for more efficient turbines, which will in turn help bring the costs of generating electricity down.”