Two organizations were chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop larger wind turbine blades that can lower costs and take advantage of better wind resources.
The two research and development (R&D) projects will address the challenges of installing rotor blades longer than 60 meters using designs scalable to greater lengths. The research will also involve lowering blade weight and improving design to help reduce production costs and lower transportation costs for installing the components.
The two R&D projects are:
- Wetzel Engineering Inc. of Pflugerville, Texas, in partnership with DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Northern Power Systems, TPI Composites and NextEra (NYSE: NEE). The companies will develop a field-assembled blade called “SparBlade” between 62 and 74 meters in length. The blades will use a lightweight bonded composite space frame and is designed for use on multi-megawatt turbines and tall towers.
- General Electric (NYSE: GE), in partnership with NREL and TPI composites, will design a jointed blade for onsite assembly to reduce transportation constraints while meeting structural requirements for next-generation turbines.