The next generation of offshore wind turbines could be built with 100 meter-long blades, thanks to a new £15.5 million project in the UK.
The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has appointed rotor technology company Blade Dynamics to produce what are expected to be the world’s longest wind turbine blades ever built – between 80 and 100 meters in length. Currently, blades deployed offshore measure between 60 and 75 meters.
The blades, which are expected to be in full production by late 2014, will also incorporate carbon fiber rather than conventional fiber glass, meaning they’ll weigh up to 40% less than standard blades. This will enable significant weight and cost savings to be achieved throughout the rest of the turbine system.
The new blade technology is intended for use on the next generation of large offshore wind turbines currently under development with a capacity of 8 to 10MW, significantly more powerful than the 5-6MW capacity turbines currently deployed offshore.
Paul Trinick, offshore wind project manager at the ETI, said: “Offshore wind has the potential to be a much larger contributor to the UK energy system if today’s costs can be significantly reduced. 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.”