Blade Dynamics has received the award of Process Technology Innovation Funding under the GROW:OffshoreWind program for a £1m Advanced Blade Tip development project, due for completion in Q2 2015.
The performance of offshore wind turbine blades in their challenging operating environment is one of the critical issues in energy cost, reliability, and safety. Costs associated with repairing blades are extremely high and time consuming, causing significant operating losses due to downtime and having a significant detrimental effect on the cost of energy generated. .
Blade Dynamics has created an innovative ‘Advanced Blade Tip’, which improves the critical outer third of a wind turbine blade. This high performance tip is designed to integrate into standard wind turbine blades, creating a ‘hybrid blade’ that upgrades performance while using existing manufacturing infrastructure. It features built-in leading-edge-erosion protection, has a highly accurate aerodynamic profile to enhance energy generation, is lightweight to reduce turbine loads and to allow blades to be extended in length and has an innovative lightning protection system.
The Advanced Blade Tip both enhances the performance of offshore wind turbines, increasing Annual Energy Production (AEP), and reduces costs incurred through expensive downtime due to blade deterioration and the current need for frequent maintenance. The project will refine, demonstrate, and test the manufacturing technologies used in the tip solution as well as optimize the design of the interface between the tip and the rest of the blade.
“This is an exciting new technology development that can substantially reduce the long term cost of energy from offshore wind turbines and the company is proud and thankful to be supported by GROW:OffshoreWind in this work,” Said Blade Dynamics co-founder Theo Botha.
The project is a good example of funding provided for technologies that can have a substantial positive impact on the British economy and environment by nurturing sustainable, knowledge based, domestic manufacturing in the important offshore wind energy sector.
The outer portion of a blade produces most of the energy and the technology allows these high value blade tips to be exported from the UK and deployed on offshore wind turbines globally as well as in the domestic market.
“The successful delivery of this project will provide a route for substantial financial benefits to the purchasers of wind turbines and manufacturers, through increased blade life and significantly reduced maintenance costs, as well as a reduction in the cost of energy from offshore wind farms,” said GROW:OffshoreWind CEO Dominic Brown.
This is a significant project and one of others now supported by GROW to assist with supply chain development and address the cost challenges faced by the industry.