15MW wind turbine is record 260m high

15MW wind turbine is record 260m high

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Vestas in Denmark has launched a 15MW wind turbine that will be a record 260m high, taller than the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt and approaching the Shard in London

The V236-15.0 MW wind turbine is aimed at offshore energy generation as the 236m long blades cover 43,000m2. The previous record was held by GE’s 14MW Haliade-X, with a 220m blade. Both GE and Vestas are also part of a Danish project to produce large composite blades that can be recycled. 

“Introducing our new offshore platform is a huge achievement for everyone at Vestas, as it marks a big leap forward in a very important journey,” said Henrik Andersen, CEO of Vestas. “Offshore wind will play an integral role in the growth of wind energy and the V236-15.0 MW will be a driver in this development by lowering levelised cost of energy thus making our customers more competitive in offshore tenders going forward.”

The 15MW wind turbine will use power technology from the existing 9MW and EnVentus turbine platforms, using a modular approach to scale components.

Combining the wind industry’s largest rotor with the highest nominal rating, the 15MW design reduces the number of turbines in a wind park.  For example, for a 900 MW wind it boosts production by five percent with 34 fewer turbines compared to the V174-9.5 MW version. The new design improves the partial-load production, resulting in a more stable energy production.

“With the V236-15.0 MW, we raise the bar in terms of technological innovation and industrialisation in the wind energy industry, in favour of building scale. The new platform combines innovation with certainty to offer industry-leading performance while reaping the benefits of building on the supply chain of our entire product portfolio. The new offshore platform forms a solid foundation for future products and upgrades,” said CTO Anders Nielsen.

With the world’s largest swept area exceeding 43,000 m2, the V236-15.0 MW delivers industry-leading performance and moves the boundaries of wind energy production to around 80 GWh/year, enough to power around 20,000 European households and save more than 38,000 tonnes of CO2, which is the equivalent to removing 25,000 passenger cars from the road every year.

The first V236-15.0 MW prototype is expected to be installed in 2022, while serial production is scheduled for 2024.

One challenge is to make the blades recyclable, and Vestas is also part of a major consortium developing sustainable techniques for recycling wind turbine blades.

The three year DecomBlades project was launched in Denmark last week and includes Ørsted, LM Wind Power (part of GE Renewable Energy),Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, FLSmidth, MAKEEN Power, HJHansen Recycling, Energy Cluster Denmark (ECD), University of Southern Denmark (SDU) and Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

Today 85 to 95 percent of a wind turbine can be recycled, but cost-efficient recycling of composite materials used for the turbines remains a challenge. On a global scale, an estimated 2.5 million tons of composite materials are currently in use in wind turbines.

The wind power industry produces far less composite waste compared to other industries – such as the construction, electronic, transport and shipping industries – nonetheless it is an important objective for the wind power industry to ensure sustainable recycling solutions exist for all materials used in a wind turbine. As the wind power industry grows, that responsibility becomes even bigger.

In DecomBlades, the ten project partners will investigate and develop solutions to recycle the composite material in wind turbine blades. The project focuses on three specific processes: shredding of wind turbine blades such that the material can be reused in different products and processes; use of shredded blade material in cement production; and, finally, a method to separate the composite material under high temperatures, also known as pyrolysis.

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