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Foresighting report: advanced blades for offshore wind


The report aims to provide ITI Scotland members with information about the market and technology associated with blades for offshore wind turbines, in order to help support and advance the design and development of the optimal offshore wind turbine blade.


The report involved a review of existing research, as well as information from key organisations, Emerging Energy Research and Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire.


The report finds that the offshore blade market requires: blade materials that have a combination of high specific stiffness, low density, and excellent fatigue characteristics, at an economic cost; large swept area blade designs that are efficient, both aerodynamically and structurally, that are optimised for energy capture and that impart reduced loads on the system; and blade manufacturing processes that reduce labour content, increase composite material quality and can be repeated consistently. Three high level technology concepts associated with the design of the optimal offshore wind turbine blade are identified, mapped onto key technology areas, and assessed for performance in relation to these areas: a blade optimised for energy capture; a blade optimised for cost; and a blade designed primarily for low transportation costs.


Areas that require further research and development (R&D) are identified in relation to each of the three key technology areas, including: whether two blades as opposed to three blades should be used to elicit cost savings; reducing costs via the use of low-cost high-performance materials; automation of the blade manufacturing process; the potential of volume manufacturing techniques; advanced aerodynamic design; the use of precision manufacturing techniques; the structural design of the blades; and the installation technology.

Author ITI Energy
Published Year 2010
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors