N1000 1MW wind turbine, photo: Nordic Windpower
For small-scale wind turbines there are plenty of alternatives out there to the usual three-bladed design, but when it comes to utility-scale wind turbines there's little variation on the basic concept. However, Technology Review reports that Nordic Windpower anticipates beginning commercial production of its innovative two-bladed wind turbines later this year:Turbines Up To 25% Cheaper, Nordic Says
The big thing that Nordic says sets their turbines apart is that compared to a three-bladed turbine, one of their two-bladed models is 20-25% less expensive for comparable power output.
Past experiments with two-bladed turbines weren't so successful, but Nordic has had two-bladed prototypes running for a decade. The technological key to success according to CEO Tom Carbone is a "teetered hub" on which the blades sit. This provides enough flexibility between the rotor and the driveshaft so that the blades can respond to shifts in the the wind that could otherwise strain the turbine's gearbox.
$16 Million from DOE Will Help Ramp Up Production
Nordic Windpower received a $16 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy earlier this year which will accelerate commercial deployment of the turbines -- Nordic will use this money to expand its production facility in Idaho.
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