The U.K.-based Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has invested 15.5 million British pounds in a project that aims to build the world's longest wind turbine blades.
For the project, the ETI will partner with Blade Dynamics to develop and demonstrate the new wind turbine design. As part of the project, the ETI will become an equity investor in the Isle of Wight-based blade developer, allowing the company to grow its workforce by up to one-third in the short to medium term.
Blade Dynamics will construct blades between 80 and 100 meters long, incorporating carbon fiber rather than conventional fiber glass. This compares with the 60- to 75-meter offshore wind blades currently being deployed.
Blade Dynamics’ design and manufacturing processes construct blades through the assembly of smaller, more accurate and easily manufactured component pieces, rather than from extremely large and expensive full-length moldings, the company explains.
The intended end use for the blade technology is on the next generation of 8 MW to 10 MW offshore wind turbines that are currently under development.
The first stage of the project will focus on blade design in collaboration with an unnamed turbine manufacturer. The project will also test detailed design and manufacturing technologies.
The second stage will establish and demonstrate the proposed manufacturing processes on blades designed for a current 6 MW turbine. A design will also be developed for blades for future 8 MW to 10 MW wind turbines. The final project stages are intended to test and verify the prototype blade performance against the predicted performance.
The new blades are expected to enter production by late 2014.