World first in wind turbine tech arrives in UK for testing at ORE Catapult centre

ORE Catapult turbine blade Blade Dynamics 78 metre offshore wind turbine rotor blade arrives for testing at ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy CentreThe world’s first ‘modular design’ blade – at an incredible 78m – has arrived in the UK for testing.

One of the most innovative offshore wind turbine rotor blades in the world has arrived at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s test, demonstration and research centre in Blyth, Northumberland, ahead of a planned six month testing programme.

Its modular assembly design is unique, enabling larger, more effective turbines with reduced weight and higher performance. The prototype aims not only to increase output and reduce weight, but also to lower costs.

UK based Blade Dynamics’ prototype ‘D78’ blade has been designed and manufactured in both the UK and USA and made its way, from the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, to the UK for commissioning and testing.

Pepe Carnevale, CEO, Blade Dynamics, said “ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre has world-class facilities and is Blade Dynamics’ partner of choice for full-scale blade structural testing.

“This high performance 78m modular assembly blade will undergo static and dynamic testing here in the coming months. Independent verification that the technology is reliable is an important step in the progression towards serial installation. We are also actively exploring demonstration opportunities for our 78m blades.

“Making these steps, with assistance from ORE Catapult, is key for Blade Dynamics. It will drive the introduction of this technology to the market and support all the sustainable job creation, export-led economic growth and reduction in the cost of offshore wind energy that the technology can deliver.

“This incredible 78m blade has only been possible with the tremendous support of the ETI, whose commitment and vision is accelerating this game changing innovation into UK offshore wind and the UK economy. The company would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone else within the UK wind sector including DECC, TSB, The Carbon Trust, the Catapult network and others who continue to make the UK a great environment for innovation in offshore wind.”

The final stages of the manufacturing process can be completed close to the installation or deployment site, allowing manufacturing to be distributed around the country and providing a route for the future export of blade components from the UK.

Tony Quinn, Operations Director, ORE Catapult, added: “This is the longest blade, and certainly the most innovative in terms of design, that we have ever tested at our facility in Blyth. Our range of test methods help to reduce risk in new blade designs and generate confidence in their performance.

“Here at the Catapult, we work collaboratively with innovators such as Blade Dynamics to help develop their ideas into market ready technologies, and tackle some of the industry’s major technology challenges to drive down the cost of offshore renewable energy.”

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