The wind power industry is one of the fastest-growing and impactful sectors in the modern economy. Global installed wind-generation capacity onshore and offshore has increased by a factor of almost 75 in the past two decades, jumping from 7.5 gigawatts (GW) in 1997 to some 564 GW by 2018, according to IRENA’s latest data.
Wind-turbine size and capacity has increased over time. In 1985, typical turbines had a rated capacity of 0.05 megawatts (MW) and a rotor diameter of 15 metres. Today’s new wind power projects have turbine capacities of about 8 MW, with rotor diameters of up to 164 metres.
Wind power, as with any energy source, aims to provide the maximum power output for the lowest cost, with the highest level of reliability and device lifespan. One major obstacle to this is the forces that a wind turbine has to withstand during operation, and in worst-case storm-loading conditions. Their blades have the optimal shape for generating power during normal operation, but under these extreme loads their shape generates massive forces on the turbine base and components, essentially trying to tear the blades off of the base.
What if you could have an adaptive blade?
One that was the correct shape to generate peak power in operation, yet could change shape to drastically decrease storm loadings, thereby increasing the device lifespan and drastically decrease the cost of the components and support structures. This is the focus of research at Brayfoil Technologies. We design the turbine blades that will change the future economics and safety standards of the industry. A question of materials science, aerodynamics, mechanism design and manufacturing, we are joining forces with industry to solve this problem. Contact us to find out more.
Wing technology in aerospace and aviation uses a rigid wing shape to create lift, and that lift is then modified through the use of discreet control surfaces such as flaps, ailerons and elevators. These discreet surfaces produce drag, and the rigid wing is fixed in thickness and camber, making it sub-optimal for use outside of its discreet flight envelope.
What if you could have an adaptive wing?
What if you could have an adaptive wing? One where the shape could change depending on the required lift and drag at the time, and the angle into the wind could be set automatically? This would reduce drag, increase range and capabilities, and allow for redesigns of airframes that would drastically decrease airframe drag. This area is a focus for Brayfoil Technologies, promising advances for UAVs and drones, military applications and all forms of aviation. Contact us to find out more.
High performance sailing is a hotbed of aero technology development – the fastest yachts of the America’s Cup use rigid and semi-rigid wing technology to harness the wind. However, sailing is still a balancing act of the wind and the vessel’s direction, mediated by the sailor.
What if you could have an adaptive sail?
What if you could have an adaptive sail that auto-set its angle to the wind using aero forces? Something that offered the performance benefits of a rigid wing with the ease and simplicity of the throttle of a motor yacht? Brayfoil Technologies are pioneering this type of sail for deployment on autonomous and sailing vessels, with successful on-the-water trials already completed. Contact us to find out more.
Vehicle control has always been predicated on the idea that the limit of car control is traction between the road surface and the tyres. Those contact points are the only way that a car accelerates, decelerates and turns.
Why can’t we push this limit? Modern aero works to increase the downforce on the vehicle at speed, increasing the control a vehicle has – but at the expense of drag at high speed. Vehicles like the McLaren Speedtail and the Aston Martin Valhalla have shown us that rear downforce wings can be flexible and active – we want to take that one step further.
Brayfoil Technologies is developing adaptive structures for use as control surfaces on vehicles, allowing for downforce to be applied on-demand, while not sacrificing speed on the straights through unnecessary drag.
What if you could have adaptive control surfaces?
Wings could be thin and aerodynamic at speed yet transition to high-lift aerofoil shapes seamlessly and effectively to generate force – downforce or lateral forces on-demand via the aerodynamics of a vehicle. Imagine vehicles that become more controllable the faster they go, corner at far faster speeds, and that can maintain control even when all traction is lost between the tyres and the road surface. This is the focus of our work in vehicle aerodynamics. This is the future of car control.