ACT Blade Proves Yacht-Racing Inspired Concept For World’s Lightest Wind Turbine Blade

18 May 2020 - Published by Stig Marthinsen

Successful trials at the test and validation facility of PERISCOPE partner ORE Catapult pave the way for installation of world’s lightest wind farm blade at an operational wind turbine.

ACT Blade, a spin-off company from UK yacht-sail developer SMAR Azure, has announced that it has successfully completed the first of two tests of its novel lightweight blade for wind farms at ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth. These tests will pave the way for its first operational deployment later this year.

Made up of an internal composite structure and high-tech textiles, as opposed to the prevailing fibreglass, ACT’s blades are 24 per cent lighter. A lower weight means blades can be made 10 per cent longer than the standard 55 metre blade around today: producing nine per cent more energy and reducing the cost of energy by 6.7 per cent.

This first of two static tests took place at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s Blade Test Facility in Blyth. Over three weeks, a full-length blade (13m) withstood the world’s toughest simulation of offshore wind conditions, aimed at testing its structural integrity and durability to the limit.

The test 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. Post-test inspections show it to have held its shape with no damage. The test data–including optically measured strain and deflection results from within the blade textile–are now being analysed to gain a fuller understanding of the blade’s behaviour.

© ORE Catapult