Blade Dynamics and SABIC have announced a technology license agreement today; for the manufacture of high performance wind turbine blades and their deployment in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and Egypt.
Blade Dynamics introduced a breakthrough design and manufacturing process, which constructs blades through the assembly of smaller, more accurate and easily manufactured component pieces, rather than from extremely large and expensive full-length mouldings.
This results in advantages including better weight/length ratio, better reproducibility, easier logistics. The Dynamic 49 Blade was recently awarded blade of the year 2012 by Windpower Monthly Magazine. This development is progressing with the recently announced Energy Technologies Institute Long Blade Programme. This project is expected to create the longest and most advanced wind turbine rotor ever built.
Ernesto Occhiello, EVP Technology and Innovation of SABIC said: “SABIC’s approach is to selectively identify and make available to KSA breakthrough technologies. Blade Dynamics’s blades are particularly suited, given the importance of high energy yield in lower wind conditions and adequate resistance to sand erosion”.
Pepe Carnevale, Blade Dynamics’ CEO said: “Following the recent announcement of the company’s development programme for the largest blades ever manufactured, this licensing agreement is another step toward commercialisation of this next-generation blade technology.”
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation ( SABIC ) ranks among the world's top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world's market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.
The company operates in more than 40 countries across the world with around 40,000 employees worldwide.
Headquartered in Riyadh, SABIC was founded in 1976 when the Saudi Arabian Government decided to use the hydrocarbon gases associated with its oil production as the principal feedstock for production of chemicals, polymers and fertilizers. The Saudi Arabian Government owns 70 percent of SABIC shares with the remaining 30 percent held by private investors in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
Blade Dynamics is a British company that develops and manufactures a new generation of low-weight, large wind turbine blades. It is based on the Isle of Wight, UK, with further manufacturing and design facilities at NASA Michoud in New Orleans, USA. The company is presently developing the largest wind turbine blades ever constructed. www.bladedynamics.com
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Read about the awards here
Blade Dynamics manufactures its turbine blades in relatively short, easy-to-handle individual components, fitting into standard 40-foot containers. Not only are these far simpler to transport than single-piece blades of similar size, these smaller parts are claimed to be easier to manufacture at very high quality. Assembly takes place in laser-aligned jigs that are easy to install and dismantle.
Core to the design of this small UK manufacturer is an inner-spar technology built from many multi-layer, carbon-fibre-reinforced epoxy sections. Precision moulds can produce repeatable, high-quality, single-spars, which fit into stiff box-type structures, carrying the main loads.
The outer shell elements are built predominantly in glass-fibre-reinforced composite, providing aerodynamic cladding and also contributing to the blade's structural integrity.
The blade root design is another key feature, reducing the weight of typical blade roots. It comprises opposing thin-wall inner and outer sections shaped like corrugated iron. Laminated together, they create multiple tapering, round holes in the root circumference to take inner steel thread elements for the company's patented blade bolts with inner steel thread elements. These three parts create a very strong and stiff structure, while remaining lightweight.
The blade root wall thickness of the D49 with bolt inserts is 20-25 millimetres, compared with a conventional blade root of between 80 and 100 millimetres.
Read the full article at Windpower Monthly here
As part of the £15.5 million project the ETI will become an equity investor in the Isle of Wight-based blade developer – helping with technology development and allowing the company to grow its workforce by up to a third in the short to medium term.
This is the second time in 12 months that the ETI has undertaken a private equity investment in a UK SME developing innovative new technologies.
Blade Dynamics will construct blades for the ETI of between 80 to 100 metres in length, incorporating carbon fibre rather than conventional fibre glass. This compares with blades now deployed offshore of between 60 to 75 metres in length.
The ETI commissioned and funded project will be delivered using BladeDynamics' innovative design and manufacturing processes that construct blades through the assembly of smaller, more accurate and easily manufactured component pieces, rather than from extremely large and expensive full-length mouldings.
The project will see prototype blades manufactured, and in a position to be put into production by late 2014. Structural testing for the first blade is then expected to be carried out at a UK test facility. The design of the blades will see them weigh up to 40 per cent less than conventional glass-fibre blades, enabling significant weight and cost savings to be achieved throughout the rest of the turbine system. The design will also help to reduce the cost of the energy produced.
The intended end use for the blade technology is on the next generation of large offshore wind turbines currently under development with a capacity of 8 to 10MW. This compares with the 5-6MW capacity turbines currently deployed offshore.
The first stage of the project will focus on blade design in collaboration with a major turbine manufacturer (OEM). The project will also test detailed design and manufacturing technologies, extending Blade Dynamics' current experience from manufacturing 49 metre blades. The second stage will establish and demonstrate the proposed manufacturing processes on blades designed for a current 6MW turbine. A design will also be developed for blades for future 8 to 10MW turbines. Final project stages are intended to test and verify the prototype blade performance against the predicted performance.
Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: "This investment will enable Blade Dynamics to develop and demonstrate a potentially world-leading technology. The project could vastly improve the manufacturing process of very large turbine blades, as well as helping to reduce the cost of the energy generated. It shows Britain is leading the way in developing innovative solutions to help with the transition to a low carbon economy."
Paul Trinick, Offshore Wind Project Manager at the ETI said: “Offshore wind has the potential to be a much larger contributor to the UK energy system if today's costs can be significantly reduced. Investing in this project to develop larger, more efficient blades is a key step for the whole industry in paving the way for more efficient turbines, which will in turn help bring the costs of generating electricity down.
“Along with improved system reliability, the impact of larger blades is a crucial factor in helping to bring down the costs of generating electricity offshore. Our investment strategy here is to provide financial support to allow the company to develop its technology further, to accelerate and expand the testing of this UK technology, and to identify the large-scale development opportunity of this design approach.”
David Cripps, Senior Technical Manager, from Blade Dynamics added: “We have worked hard on the design of this blade technology for a number of years now. Financial backing from the ETI for this project allows deployment on ultra-large turbines far sooner than would otherwise have been possible and as a result of this project we will be hiring new engineers and technologists to make this possible. Our driver is to make the generation of electricity through offshore wind both more reliable and more economical. We believe longer, low weight blades to be a key part of the solution, but for such blades to be most effective we need to design their construction differently.”
The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is a public-private partnership between global industries – BP, Caterpillar, EDF, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell – and the UK Government. sector representation is through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with funding channelled through the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The Department of Energy and Climate Change are observers on the Board. The ETI is focused on accelerating the deployment of affordable, secure lowcarbon energy systems for 2020 to 2050 by demonstrating technologies, developing knowledge, skills and supply-chains and informing the development of regulation, standards and policy. www.eti.co.uk
An advanced 49m wind turbine blade designed by Blade Dynamics, has successfully completed full structural testing for GL certification at the NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) test facility in Boston, USA. The D49 blade was developed by Blade Dynamics with blade fabrication completed at its new US facility at NASA Michoud, New Orleans, USA. Following testing, the blade has passed full GL certification.
The D49 blade uses several proprietary technologies developed by the company to achieve its exceptionally low weight of 6150kg. These technologies include an ultra high-performance carbon fibre spar and a patented root attachment system that dramatically increases strength and reduces both weight and cost. The modular construction enables the blade to be transported in two shorter sections that can be seamlessly consolidated locally using proprietary technology. The blade also uses a slim aerodynamic profile that gives a higher energy yield for equal turbine loads and this is made possible by the advanced composite engineering of the blade.
The blade is well suited to many turbines in the 1.5-2MW range and can transform power curves with it's high yield, low loading characteristics. When the D49 blades replace conventional glass epoxy blades on an AMSC 2MW turbine, AEP (Annual Energy Production) increases up to 12%.
The D49 blade is also ground-breaking in that it is assembled from smaller modular composite mouldings, typically of 12m maximum length. This approach means that each piece can be manufactured to a much higher quality and accuracy, whilst using lower cost tooling than that used in conventional blade manufacture. The modular manufacturing approach can also be used to dramatically reduce blade transportation costs, with the possibility to ship blades in two sections that are joined together local to the wind farm. The assembly approach also enables a flexible, and easily developed, global supply chain.
The technology in the D49 blade is ready to be scaled up to blades for 10MW turbines, and there are already designs for blades almost twice as long as the D49. These blades will be far lighter than existing ultra-large blades, and can make a large improvement in the delivered cost of wind energy, especially in the fast growing offshore sector.
The D49 blade was developed with the assistance of the UK's DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change), with initial testing carried out at NAREC.
The company has begun serial manufacture of the D49.