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.

Able to operate across a greater range of windspeeds than existing technologies

Able to adapt to changing and turbulent winds

Allows large-scale energy production inside cities for the first time

Simple and robust design, using proven technologies and materials

Low noise and vibration with slow-moving blades

Wind is used to produce electricity using the kinetic energy created by air in motion, transformed into electrical energy using wind turbines or wind energy conversion systems. Wind first hits a turbine’s blades, causing them to rotate and turn the turbine connected to them. The amount of power that can be harvested from wind depends on the size of the turbine and the length of its blades. The output is proportional to the dimensions of the rotor and to the cube of the wind speed. Wind-turbine size and capacity has therefore 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 are in the process of designing and prototyping the future of wind turbine blades to change the economics and safety of the industry for the better. 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.