These enormous fibreglass blades are cast in a single process, which makes them 10% to 20% lighter than if they had been made up from smaller sections glued together. The wind turbines will have a diameter of 154m with a swept area of 18,600 square meters, the equivalent size of two football pitches.
If the B75 Quantum blade were produced using traditional technology, it would be 25-50% heavier
When operating at 10 m/s wind speed a turbine of this size will extract energy from 200 tons of air per second. At full speed the tips of the blades will reach 180 mph.
To get an idea of how far wind turbines have progressed over the years, the first commercial wind turbine Siemens erected thirty years ago had 5-meter long blades and the capacity to generate 30 kilowatts of electrical power. With their new wind turbine able to produce 6 megawatts of electricity it means they have grown by a factor of 200 hundred in three decades. The energy production of Siemens’ 6 MW wind turbine is sufficient to supply about 6,000 European households with electricity.
“If the B75 Quantum blade were produced using traditional technology, it would be 25-50% heavier,” the company said in a statement. “Heavy blades are subject to higher loads and require stronger nacelles, towers, and foundations. The combination of intelligent design and low weight has a correspondingly positive effect on the power generation costs for wind energy.”
Siemens is selling 300 of these enormous wind turbines to DONG Energy who plans to install them in wind plants off the British coast between 2014 and 2017. They are going to install two of these wind turbines at the end of this year for testing at Gunfleet Sands Off Shore wind farm near Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.
The UK is currently leading the charge when it comes to offshore wind farms. In fact, we create as much electricity from our wind turbines as the rest of the world put together. The world’s largest offshore farm is Walney Wind Farm, located in the Irish Sea off the coast of Cumbria, with a capacity to produce 367 MW.
According to RenewableUK by 2020 the UK will have an offshore wind capacity of 18 gigawatts, which equates to around 17% of the UK’s electricity demand. Worldwide, it is expected that offshore wind power will generate a capacity of 75 GW by the same year.