New offshore wind turbine blade testing facility

Friday, 14 December, 2012 - 15:15

The Duke of York visited the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) on December 3, to open two new facilities for the development of offshore renewable energy technologies. The new offshore wind turbine blade and tidal turbine drive train testing facilities are the result of a combined investment of £ 33.6 million by UK Government and the European Regional Development Fund.

Completed in August, the blade test facility is now ready for commercial operations. To accommodate the deflection on blades of up to 100 m in length, construction of the 5,700 m² steel frame structure incorporated techniques used during the building of the Stadium for the Olympic Games in Beijing. It is 123 m in length, with a 74 m unsupported structured span, and has a 15 m high concrete superstructure test hub.

Nautilus, a 3 MW capacity drive train testing facility for tidal turbines has recently completed its first client test for Atlantis Resources. Both, blade and drive train testing facilities have been designed and commissioned for full-scale design verification and accelerated life testing of major components for research, development and certification purposes.

Andrew Mill, Chief Executive at Narec, said: "These two new facilities were conceived by our own engineers and have been delivered on time to meet market needs for testing larger offshore wind turbine blades and prototype tidal turbines." He added: "Our reliability, design verification and accelerated life testing facilities are attracting world-leading technology developers to the UK to get new technologies ready for deployment offshore more quickly, ironing out any problems in a controlled, low risk and confidential environment."

On his visit The Duke of York also took a tour of a third facility currently under construction for the testing of large offshore wind turbines. The £ 45 million facility for drive trains up to 15 MW will be operational in spring next year with a first customer commissioning to follow in the summer.

Katharina Garus

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