Blade manufacturer LM Wind Power launched a world-record wind turbine blade in February this year, and marks Global Wind Day by formally announcing the length—73.5 m—equivalent to a 24 storey building.
Global Wind Day, June 15, is marked across the world, celebrating the strong message that wind power works. The past three decades of technological development have seen continuous improvements in the relative cost efficiency of wind versus other renewable and conventional energy sources like hydrocarbons.
LM Wind Power says it’s the world’s largest independent manufacturer of turbine blades and has pioneered many of those important and exciting innovations. The company has created longer and longer blades, increasing the ‘swept area’ of the rotor and capturing wind more effectively. This new blade will be the longest composite blade structure in the world at 73.5 m creating an impressive swept area with a rotor diameter of 150 m.
The blade is for offshore wind farms and was developed by the company’s engineers in Denmark. The team has produced more than 140,000 blades, which are now installed and flying across the world. When the company began in 1978 the blades were 5 m long, which illustrates the speed and ambition of the whole industry and the constant appetite for improved technology at LM Wind Power. The company says it was the first to exceed the 60 m limit, and is now the first to put blades longer than 70 m into production.
Vice President, Product Development at LM Wind Power, Jan Kristiansen is looking forward to being able to present the first prototype blade in Denmark already at the end of this year. “The size of these impressive structures has more than doubled over the past decade alone, and although this has of course demanded the development of new materials, design, and technology along the way, the new 73.5 m blade is built on our progressive accumulation of know-how,” she says. “This ensures that even though it is more than ten meters longer than our recent world record blade, it is still based on a proven concept.”
The LM 73.5P wind turbine blades will be installed on Alstom’s 6-MW wind turbines offshore, mainly in European waters, where the giant blades will travel at the speed of more than 320 km/h in order to generate green power equivalent to the yearly requirements of over 6000 European households.
“Speed to market is important in the fast-moving wind energy industry,” Kristiansen explains. “In order to make the best possible blade available with least delay, our product development and manufacturing engineers have to work very closely together as one team. One example is the way our in-house mold experts have produced a special prototype mold with a transparent surface. This allows for full-scale manufacturing trials where our engineers are able to follow the critical polyester infusion by visual inspection.”
LM Wind Power continues its steady technological development and is already in discussions with a number of Asian wind turbine manufacturers about making blades even longer than 80 m.
LM Wind Power www.lmwindpower.com