Isle of Wight company Blade Dynamics has received investment to develop the world's longest turbine blades.
THE world’s longest wind turbine blades are to be developed on the Isle of Wight, it was announced today (Monday).
Cowes-based Blade Dynamics has secured £15.5 million of investment to design and build 100 metre blades for the next generation of offshore turbines.
The investment from the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) will allow the company, which employs 40 people, to grow by up to a third in the short to medium term.
ETI is a public-private partnership between companies including Rolls Royce, Shell and E.On and the UK government
Blade Dynamics, based at Somerton, was established in 2007 by founder of
SP Systems Paul Rudling, who is now the blade company’s chairman.
David Cripps, senior technical manager for Blade Dynamics, said: "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 of 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 aim is to make the generation of electricity through offshore wind both more reliable and more economical."
Blade Dynamics builds 49 metre blades using smaller component pieces that are easier to manufacture and assemble, rather than expensive full length mouldings.
The company plans to develop the technology to build 80 to 100m blades, incorporating carbon fibre rather than conventional fibre glass, making them 40 per cent lighter.
The first stage of the project will focus on blade design, with prototype blades manufactured and in a position to be put into production by late next year.
Where the blades will be assembled has yet to be decided, said Mr Cripps, but structural testing for the first blade is expected to be carried out at a UK test facility.
Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, 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."
Paul Trinick, offshore wind project manager at the ETI, said investing in larger, more efficient blades was a key step for the whole industry.
He 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."