Big blade: The forms for the 80-meter turbine blades that Vestas is developing stretch into the distance.


The Quest for the Monster Wind Turbine Blade

Companies are racing to develop ways to make the 100-meter blades needed to make offshore wind compete with fossil fuels.

By Kevin Bullis on January 23, 2013

Blade Dynamics, a six-year-old company that’s partly owned by American Semiconductor, a wind turbine designer and supplier of wind farm electronics, says that it has developed technology that will make possible the world’s largest wind turbine blades. It’s demonstrated the technology by manufacturing 49-meter blades, and now the Energy Technologies Institute, a partnership between the U.K. government and major corporations such as BP, Shell, and Caterpillar, has given the company nearly $25 million to build 100-meter blades. They could enable 250-meter-tall wind turbines that would tower over the Washington Monument, which stands a mere 169 meters tall. The largest wind turbine blades now are 75 meters long (see “A Mighty Wind Turbine”).

The effort is no mere record-setting spectacle. Finding affordable ways to make the enormous wind turbine blades is one of the biggest challenges to making offshore wind competitive with fossil fuels, and leading wind power companies, including GE and Vestas, are developing technology to solve the problem.

Read more: Monster Wind Turbine Blades Could Help Offshore Wind Compete with Fossil Fuels | MIT Technology Review.

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