By Renewable Energy Focus staff

The wind turbine blades would be used for offshore wind turbines with a capacity of 8-10 MW. Currently, offshore wind turbine blades are typically 40-60 m long.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne, says: “Groundbreaking innovation is needed today to help create a low carbon future. This is why I’m pleased the ETI is asking inventors to come up with the wind turbines of tomorrow. Improving turbine performance will increase output and drive down costs, making it more economical to generate green energy. I am confident that business, industry and our best research brains take up the challenge.”

Dr David Clarke, ETI Chief Executive, adds: “This project is based on our earlier studies which identified that the most cost-effective size for a horizontal axis turbine is likely to be between 8 and 10 MW with significantly larger blades than scaling up current turbines would typically give.

“Along with improved system reliability, the impact of larger blades is a crucial factor in helping to bring down the costs of generating electricity by offshore wind which is why we are now seeking partners to develop and demonstrate these large-scale high performance blades.”

Clarke continues: “Investing in this project to develop much 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.”

“Creating very long blades with the right stiffness and aerodynamic performance whilst maintaining an acceptable cost is going to be a huge challenge for the industry and is going to need the best design and manufacturing team we can assemble. The UK has world leading capabilities in advanced manufacturing and we expect to see the most competitive teams involved.”

The ETI expects to invest around £10 million in the project.