ACT’s lightweight turbine blade passes first test
- Research & Development
ACT Blade, a spin-off company from UK yacht-sail developer SMAR Azure, has completed the first test of its new lightweight blade for wind farms at ORE Catapult’s Blade Test Facility in Blyth.
This first of two static tests was carried out in three weeks and saw a full-length 13m blade withstand the toughest simulation of offshore wind conditions, ORE Catapult said.
Results showed that the blade could withstand extreme loads and every type of direction and twist, going beyond those predicted for an in-service turbine, Catapult added.
Post-test inspections show that it held its shape with no damage. The test data, including optically measured strain and deflection results from within the blade textile, are now being analyzed to gain a fuller understanding of the blade’s behavior.
The two tests are expected to pave the way for the turbine’s first operational deployment later this year.
Over the next six months, ACT Blade will work with the Energy Technology Centre to prepare for the installation of three blades on a working wind turbine at the Myres Hill Wind Farm in Scotland, as a further step towards commercialization.
The spin-off company based its concept upon the realization that the light, durable structure of yacht sails could be adapted for offshore wind turbine blades.
Made up of an internal composite structure and high-tech textiles, ACT’s blades are 24% lighter, which means they can be made 10% longer than the standard 55-meter blade, producing 9% more energy and reducing the cost of energy by 6.7%, ORE Catapult stated.
“I realised that the offshore wind industry was engaged in the same race as we were in the yacht-racing world: we need to reduce loads and capture more wind power without compromising on durability,” said Sabrina Malpede, CEO at ACT Blade.
“Today, I am delighted that after three projects funded by Innovate UK, we have proven our concept. I would like to thank all our partners who have made this breakthrough possible: ORE Catapult, Advanced Materials Research Centre, Advanced Forming Research Centre, the Energy Technology Centre (ETC) and InnoEnergy.”