With the equity investment, Blade Dynamics will construct the blades of between 80 metres and 100 metres in length, incorporating carbon fibre rather than conventional fibre glass.
Blades currently being deployed tend to be between 60 to 75 metres in length for the biggest offshore projects.
The project will see prototype blades manufactured, and in a position to be put into production by late 2014.
The first stage of the project will focus on blade design in collaboration with a major turbine manufacturer/
The project will also test detailed design and manufacturing technologies, extending Blade Dynamics’ current experience from manufacturing 49 metre blades.
Paul Trinick, offshore wind project manager at the ETI, said, ‘Offshore wind has the potential to be a much larger contributor to the UK energy system if today’s costs can be significantly reduced. Investing in this project to develop larger, more efficient blades is a key step for the whole industry in paving the way for more efficient turbines, which will in turn help bring the costs of generating electricity down.
‘Along with improved system reliability, the impact of larger blades is a crucial factor in helping to bring down the costs of generating electricity offshore. Our investment strategy here is to provide financial support to allow the company to develop its technology further, to accelerate and expand the testing of this UK technology, and to identify the large-scale development opportunity of this design approach.’
The ETI is a public-private partnership between global industries such as BP, Caterpillar, EDF, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell, and the UK government.
David Willetts, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Minister for Universities and Science, said, ‘This investment will enable Blade Dynamics to develop and demonstrate a potentially world-leading technology.
‘The project could vastly improve the manufacturing process of very large turbine blades, as well as helping to reduce the cost of the energy generated. It shows Britain is leading the way in developing innovative solutions to help with the transition to a low carbon economy.’
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