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Pioneering project

Innovative Scots turbine blade closer to market

The ACT Blade offers a number of practical benefits

A consortium of engineers and technologists are working on an innovative and more energy-efficient wind turbine blade.

The technology, developed by Edinburgh-based ACT Blade, involves replacing the heavier glass fibre design traditionally used for wind turbine blades with a lighter composite structure, wrapped in a sail-like textile.

It is ultralight and sustainable and capable of producing up to 9% more energy than conventional blades.

The Lightweight Manufacturing Centre (LMC) at the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, is part of the consortium which includes the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

They are supporting ACT Blade to develop the blade and bring it to market.


The technology could be a disruptor

A lighter blade allows for 10% more length, which, in turn, generates up to 9% more energy from the same wind turbine. 

Manufacturing costs are also 30% lower than for conventional blades and they don’t require finishing and painting, which is a time consuming and polluting process.  The blade is also partly recyclable.

The technology could be a disruptor for the offshore wind industry, helping to make offshore wind – already one of the cheapest forms of large-scale energy generation in the UK – even cheaper and easier to harness.

Professor Iain Bomphray, director of the LMC, said: “This is the first of its kind in the world.

“We were keen to apply the lightweighting expertise and experience we have here at the LMC to the ACT Blade concept, also helping the team to design, test and ultimately manufacture this innovative technology.”

This is the first of its kind in the world

– Professor Iain Bomphray, LMC

The prototype was completed in February this year, and in April ACT Blade announced that it had successfully completed static tests at ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth. The blade is now undergoing testing.

Dr Sabrina Malpede, ACT Blade CEO, said: “This ultralight blade has the potential to be completely disruptive to the renewables sector, allowing for substantial cost savings and increased production of wind energy. 

“Working with the LMC has allowed us to tap into its composite capabilities and take our ACT Blade concept from design through to manufacture.  Now, we need to see how it performs in a real environment.”

Argyll and Bute wind far go ahead

An application to develop a wind farm in Argyll and Bute has been granted consent by the Scottish Government. 

High Constellation Wind Farm, on behalf of Arcus client Blue Energy, consists of 10 turbines and an onsite battery storage facility.

The application was supported by environmental, planning and engineering company Arcus Consultancy Services.

Arcus supported Blue Energy through both the pre-application and consenting process. 

High Constellation Wind Farm was the second successful consent in June for Arcus.

Highland Council has approved a planning application by Abbey Ecosse for a new anaerobic digester and biomass boiler energy generating apparatus at Forss Business and Technology Park. 

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