Scottish start-up set to lead charge of the renewables extra-light blade for home-grown turbine manufacturing sector


Amidst the all-too prevalent gloom pervading the post-subsidy British and Scottish renewable energy sector, a possible Scottish silver lining has appeared amongst the clouds in the shape of a prospective home-grown turbine blade manufacturer and developer.

Edinburgh-based ACT Blade is being invited to present in a number of ‘green Dragon’s Den events in Glasgow and Edinburgh after revealing that is has developed the formula for a wind-turbine blade which it claims is:

  • 50% Lighter
  • 30% Stronger and which can
  • Deliver a 9% reduction in cost of energy from its patent-pending new 4-metre blades.

In collaboration with DNV-GL and the Glasgow-based Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (OREC) the ACT Blade team has carried out a technical feasibility study, which has demonstrated that, when compared with a conventional blade for a 2.3MW wind turbine, the ACT Blade is 50% lighter.

Dr Sabrina Malpede
Dr Sabrina Malpede

Dr. Sabrina Malpede, Chief Executive and founder of ACT Blade, said: “The new ACT Blade expands the boundaries of current wind turbine-blade technology.

“Its innovation in design means that the ACT blade is up to 50% lighter and 30% stiffer than a conventional blade.

“And by enabling longer blades to be built, it increases the energy produced by 9.7% and could reduce the cost of energy from onshore and offshore wind by 8.7%.”

“We have developed the lightest and most controllable wind turbine blade. By enabling longer blade, ACT Blade can increase energy production by 10%, reduce the cost of energy by 9% .

“Moreover, because of ACT Blade’s innovative manufacturing process, our blade can reduce the capital expenditure by 90%. 

“We are able to achieve those results, as our blade is made of components: a carbon fibre structure and textile. They are combined together using the same technology developed to design the fastest boat in the world, the America’s Cup boat.

The Intellectual Property (IP) developed belongs to ACT Blade and is patent-pending.The ACT Blade is based on the company’s proprietary (IP) technology and experience harvested from the design of the fastest boat in the world –  the America’s Cup boat.

The Scottish-based company is targeting a total addressable market worth over £6 billion per year – which, if fully exploited, could potentially entirely disrupt the existing dominance of German and Danish wind turbine-blade manufacturers with its technology.

One source familiar with the company commented last night: “ACT Blade could, potentially, do for the Scottish manufacturing and renewable energy sector what Nokia did for Finland 15 years ago.

Dr. Malpede – who set up the company last year – added: “We are developing a next-generation wind-turbine blade, where existing blade technology requires investing and tying capital up in expensive moulds and fixtures.

“ACT Blade uses existing supply chains and a far simpler and faster final assembly process that does not use moulds.

“ACT Blade’s flexible manufacturing solution enables the establishment of local assembly facilities. It also reduces logistics costs and in some cases will facilitate turbine installations in locations previously considered inaccessible due to high transportation costs.”

Dr Donald MacVicar
Dr Donald MacVicar

As well as Dr. Malpede, the ACT Blade founding team comprises Dr Alessandro Rosiello (chief financial officer) and Dr Donald MacVicar (chief technical officer) and has more than a decade of experience in developing and commercialising solutions for the design of light weight, flexible structures that work in the wind.

Dr. Malpede graduated from the Universita’ Federico II, Naples, Italy, with an Honours degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a PhD  in Sail Design from Glasgow University.

Dr. Sabrina Malpede is one of the prominent speakers at SCOTLAND’S RENEWABLE FUTURE conference, taking place at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation on 26 May 2016.

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