By Editors of Power Engineering
Though the biggest currently-functioning offshore wind turbines top out below 10 MW, researchers lead by the University of Virginia are hoping to develop a 50-MW wind turbine with blades 200 meters in length.
The Segmented Ultralight Morphing Rotor Project was awarded a three-year grant of more than $3.5 million by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, CNBC reported.
Researchers hope such a large-scale project would reduce energy costs by 50 percent. While traditionally-designed wind blades become expensive and so heavy they strike their towers at extreme scales, the project uses a blade design that morphs and sways with the wind like a palm tree, which reduces structural requirements. Segmenting the blade design will also ease manufacturing and transportation constraints.
Though the finished product will use a tower roughly the size of the Eiffel Tower, the project will test the blades in Colorado on a 12-story tower.
Sandia National Labs will develop the project’s structural configuration, while the University of Colorado and the Colorado School of Mines are creating a control system that pitches and morphs the turbine’s blades.