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Cost-Effective Tidal Turbine Blades

Date: November 05, 2013 at 12:46 GMT

While tidal power offers a potentially large and predictable source of renewable electricity, the major barriers to its development at the present time are cost and reliability. In particular, the capital cost of turbines needs to reduce alongside improvements in the structural reliability of their blades to compete with offshore wind, let alone onshore wind energy.
The authors have completed a research project looking at ways of building cost-effective, strong blades. The foundation for this work was the manufacture of a set of 1MW blades for a major tidal turbine developer.
To maintain structural performance with a step change in labour costs, it has been necessary to develop an entirely new concept for blade manufacture. By changing the way the composite plies are laid up, this method allows the very thick laminates needed in a tidal blade to be produced with greatly reduced labour time. Use of automated, CNC-controlled production processes makes the method scalable to the levels that will be needed to meet the ambitious production targets of the leading tidal turbine developers 

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