Institute looks to the next generation of wind turbines

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has commissioned a project to develop long high-performance blades for the next generation of large offshore wind turbines.

According to a statement, developers will be asked to design, build and test blades more than 90m long. These would be used on the next generation of large offshore wind turbines with a capacity of 8–10MW.

Blades that are currently deployed offshore are between 40m and 60m long.

Dr David Clarke, ETI chief executive, said: ‘It has been estimated that the UK has [more than] a third of the total European potential offshore wind resource. That is enough to power the country nearly three times over, but it needs to be harnessed efficiently and affordably if we are to make the most of that natural resource.

‘Creating very long blades with the right stiffness and aerodynamic performance while maintaining an acceptable cost is going to be a huge challenge for the industry and is going to need the best design and manufacturing team we can assemble.’

The aim of the project, in which the ETI expects to invest around £10m, is for the first blades to be manufactured and tested by the end of 2014 ready for production scale-up to serve anticipated future demand.

The first stage of the project will focus on blade design and sizing for the next generation of large offshore wind turbines, the second stage will focus on establishing an efficient manufacturing process, with the third stage testing and verifying the prototype blade performance against the predictions made at the design stage.

A Request for Proposals will be issued on 18 May for organisations wanting to get involved in the project. More details will be available here.

The deadline for the notification of an intention to submit a proposal is 17 June and the closing date is 27 July.

Huge turbines that dwarf today’s devices could be the future for offshore wind. Click here to read more.