This year’s QEPrize Laureates were announced today (February 6, 2024) by Lord Browne of Madingley, chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, during a reception at the Science Museum in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, Royal Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Over the past four decades, Denmark’s Stiesdal and Britain’s Garrard have made engineering advances that have resulted in an increase in the size of individual wind turbines and the and the scale of the wind farms in which they are sited, as well as in their engineering an economic performance.
Credited for the early technology and critical advances as the industry has evolved, the 2024 Laureates have each pioneered a system that is present in almost all modern wind turbines operating onshore and offshore.
"I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Henrik and Andrew, who have propelled global progress towards a net-zero future and have now taken their rightful place among the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Laureates,” Lord Browne said in a statement.
Initially designed in 1978, Henrik Stiesdal is credited for a three-blade turbine. Leading notable developments in proprietary blade manufacturing technology throughout the 90s, Stiesdal’s innovation operates upwind of the tower and allows for pitch control, which has enhanced the scale and efficiency of modern turbines. Further developments pioneered by Stiesdal include wind turbine blades cast in one piece, and direct-drive generators for offshore wind turbines that remove the need for gearboxes.
“It is an honour to receive the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering alongside Andrew,” said Stiesdal. “To me, it represents much more than personal recognition; it is a tribute to the collective efforts of pioneers and engineers in wind power. Since the late 1970s they embodied the essence of this Prize, creating bold, groundbreaking innovations delivering sustainable and competitive energy, addressing climate change and providing global benefits for humanity.”
Andrew Garrad’s BLADED computational design tool allows engineers to entirely model a turbine system and predict its behaviour with the confidence needed to manufacture. It has been used globally, and through the consultancy company he co-founded - which supported the industry through design consultancy, testing, measurements, energy evaluation and technical due diligence - has allowed the rapid expansion of the global manufacturing base. A similar analytical approach to wind farm yield pioneered widespread project finance by providing thorough risk assessments of potential wind farm investment.
“The 10m diameter turbines of my early professional life have become the 250m giants of today,” said Garrad. “What could possibly be more exciting for an engineer? I count myself as extraordinarily lucky to have been part of that transition. To be awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is a wonderful bonus to an already fascinating career.”
Now in its eleventh year, QEPrize has honoured 24 engineers whose innovations have had a significant impact on billions of lives around the world. The 2024 Laureates, who share the £500,000 prize, will be formally honoured at the QEPrize Presentation Ceremony, where they will receive a unique trophy, designed by the 2024 Create the Trophy winner Sunil Thakkar, age 17, from India.
Visit www.qeprize.org/winners to find out more about this year's winning innovation.