UK technology development body Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has formed a partnership with University of Bristol to carry out research to support the development of new-generation wind turbine blades.
A total of £2.3m will be invested in the new five-year Wind Blade Research Hub (WBRH) programme.
Once complete, the project is expected to see development of more efficient blades that can harness more energy from wind.
The project will also help nearly double the power of offshore wind turbines from the current 8MW to 13MW-15MW by 2025.
ORE Catapult research and disruptive innovation director Dr Stephen Wyatt said: “Producing ever-larger turbines means manufacturing even longer blades, something which pushes current technology to the very limit.
“As such, these longer blades will need to be constructed using new designs, materials and new construction and manufacturing processes, and these new blades will need to be tested and validated. The WBRH provides a mechanism for pulling all of these different strands together.
“With world-leading composites expertise, over 150 researchers dedicated to everything from aerodynamics and blade design, to materials and manufacturing, the University of Bristol is the ideal partner with whom to take forward this work.”
The first phase of WBRH will be engaged in investigation of blade materials as well as manufacturing technology, blade integrity, blade design and performance.
The project will benefit from two major blade manufacturing facilities in the UK including Siemens in Hull and MHI Vestas on the Isle of Wight.
In addition, WBRH is expected to offer a blueprint for future industry / academic collaborations in various areas such as electrical infrastructure, foundations, and powertrains.
Image: Wind turbine blade. Photo: courtesy of Offshore Renewable Energy.