Offshore wind is a powerful source of renewable energy but the industry is always seeking new ways to make it even more efficient and affordable. In collaboration with a growing Scottish business, a number of our HVM Catapult Centres have been developing a new, lighter composite turbine blade that can generate more energy from a turbine.
The collaboration between ACT Blade, the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre (sister centre to the AFRC within NMIS), the AMRC and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult has demonstrated a distinct advantage over traditional glass fibre materials. A lighter composite blade allows for 10% more length, which, in turn, generates over 9% more energy from the same wind turbine.
The new, partly recyclable blades cost 30% less to manufacture than conventional blades and don’t require additional finishing. This saves time and energy in manufacture, lowering the average cost of each gigawatt produced whilst increasing recycling potential and avoiding pollutants.
The development could be a major disruptor for the industry, helping to make offshore wind easier and cheaper to include in the energy production mix.