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A 78m offshore wind turbine blade to be tested at UK’s national renewable energy centre

News International-French

4 Sep 2015

The offshore wind turbine rotor blade from Blade Dynamics arrived at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s test, demonstration and research centre in Blyth, Northumberland, ahead of a planned six month testing programme.

Blade Dynamics is shipping the “D78” advanced assembly blade to the UK from its NASA-based facility to be structurally tested at the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s blade testing facility at Blyth, UK.


This is the first modular offshore blade in the world. There are multiple new technologies in the blade including a lightweight and high dimensional accuracy blade tip with built-in leading edge protection. The blade technology has been designed and engineered for simplicity of manufacture in order to reduce variation and ensure better control of quality. The modular technology also has significant benefits in the supply chain, simplifies blade transportation, and allows wind turbines to be designed and built to produce an overall lower cost of energy.

The Energy Technology Institute in the UK has supported the development since 2012.

The D78 Blade was partly constructed at Blade Dynamics’ facilities in the UK and the US. In the US, Blade Dynamics operates from the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility, which has 43 acres under one roof. The same building built revolutionary boats and planes in the Second World War, constructed the main booster for the Saturn 5 rocket program and the external fuel tank for the Space Shuttle program. It is currently developing fuel tanks for the Space Launch System, and Blade Dynamics share the facility with Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

The overall blade design and the manufacture of the separate blade tip were completed in the UK. The main blade section was assembled and then joined to the tip in the US, before being shipped to the UK for testing.

The completed blade was moved from the NASA assembly facility to the on-site port using transportation equipment designed and last used for the Space Shuttle program.This included the heavy-duty towing equipment last used for towing the Space Shuttle’s main fuel tanks.

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