British engineering company Arup will build a new kind of wind turbine with the capacity to produce 10MW of power.
It will work with an academic consortium backed by firms including Rolls Royce, Shell and BP to create detailed designs for the Aerogenerator, a machine that rotates on its axis and would span nearly 275m.
The design is based on a spinning sycamore leaf.
Work on the Aerogenerator development has been carried out at Cranfield University in the UK.
Cranfield University head of offshore engineering, Feargal Brennan, said the new turbine is based on semi-submersible oil platform technology and does not have the same weight constraints as a normal wind turbine.
“The radical new design is half the height of an equivalent [conventional] turbine,” Brennan said.
The design could be expanded to produce turbines to generate 20MW or more.
The first machines are expected to be built in 2013-14 following two years of testing.
Currently, the British firm Clipper and Norwegian firm Sway are also planning to build such massive turbines.