The Energy Technologies Institute in the United Kingdom has announced that UK-based wind turbine blade manufacturer Blade Dynamics has been awarded a contract that will see the creation of the world's longest turbine blades, between 80 and 100 meters (262 and 328 feet) in length. Currently, the longest turbine blades are for offshore wind farms, maxing out at 75 meters (246 feet).
Unlike current mega-blades, Blade Dynamics will make its blades from carbon fiber rather than fiberglass, making them up to 40 percent lighter. These will be assembled from smaller components, which can be manufactured more cheaply and accurately than molding single-piece blades.
Current 75-meter blades are fitted to wind turbines with a capacity of up to 6 MW. With the new blades, the Energy Technologies Institute is aiming for a peak of 8 to 10 MW per turbine. The company claims that blades longer than 100 meters are perfectly viable for offshore purposes, and could offer 20 years of reliable performance. It says that the larger turbines enabled by the greater rotor size enable the generation of wind energy at lower cost.
After a period of prototyping, the blades should enter full production towards the end of 2014.