A public private partnership between UK government and oil companies has pledged £15.5 million to develop enormous wind turbines with blades that are as long as two Olympic-sized swimming pools. Financing from Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), with members such as BP and Shell, will allow the British company Blade Dynamics to develop 328 foot modular blades that are comprised of several pieces. Made with carbon fiber instead of fiberglass, they will be cheaper to build, easier to transport and lighter than conventional blades.
In order for offshore wind energy to be a viable alternative to oil and gas, it’s crucial to drive down the costs of generation. Fastco writes that the UK government, a leader in the field, hopes to brings costs down from $210 per megawatt hour to just $161 by 2020. Current technology is plagued by heavy turbines made of fiber glass that are tricky to ship and expensive to build.
Blade Dynamics’ new technology might just be the winning ticket. By building several carbon fiber-based pieces that are 39 feet a piece, the company expects their blades to be up to 40% lighter than their competitors’. They are also up to 82 feet longer and the tower is 885 feet tall, making this the largest wind turbine on the market. (We’ve said this many times, but really, these things are mammoth!) After a series of testing steps are taken, these giants could go into production as early as the end of 2014.
Via Fastco Design