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10-15-2012

Record-Breaking Wind Turbine with 154-meter Rotors

Casting the Wingspan of an Airbus in One Piece

Record-Breaking Wind Turbine with 154-meter Rotors

Technology group Siemens has created the world’s largest wind turbine rotor blades. At 75 m in length, they have almost the same wingspan as an Airbus A380. From this fall on, the B75 blades will be installed on a prototype 6-MW offshore wind turbine at Denmark’s test station in Østerild. The rotor sweeps an area of 18,600 m2 , equivalent to two and a half soccer pitches. The tips will rotate at 80 m/s at full speed, or about 290 km/h. The giant rotor was made by special techniques capable of producing extremely stable yet lightweight structures.

Siemens produces the B75 rotor blades by its patented IntegralBlade method in which the entire blade is produced in one cast from glass-fiber-reinforced epoxy resin and balsa wood. As a result, the blade has neither seams nor bonded joints and is extremely rugged. Before each blade leaves production, it is carefully checked for potential defects and cracks. This is the only way to ensure that the 154 m rotor will be able to withstand the tremendous force of the winds: at wind speeds of 10 m/s, it will be hit by 200 tons of air every second. Thanks to QuantumBlade technology, also patented by Siemens, the blades are up to 20 % lighter than conventional blades.

This means that nacelles, towers and foundations do not need to be as heavy, lowering the cost of the installation. The high weight reduction has been achieved by specially designed blade profiles. These are also shaped in a way that delivers maximum rotor performance at a range of different wind speeds. Dong Energy, a Danish utility, plans to install 300 gearless wind turbines equipped with the record-breaking rotor blades from Siemens in the next few years.

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