Azimut claims 15MW R&D progress

The European consortium aiming to hatch a 15MW offshore wind turbine concept by the end of the decade has set the seal on the Azimut project's €30m ($41.6m) research and development (R&D) phase.

Advances have been made in a number of "key technologies" areas, including blade and drive-train design, through the four-year programme, which was funded by the Spanish ministry of economy's Cenit scheme.

During the four-year R&D stage, programme co-ordinator Gamesa developed a resin with improved flow properties during infusion for the manufacture of blades, as well as a passive coating, called Bladeshield, with anti-icing properties and extremely high resistant to erosion.

Consortium member Alstom validated a thick-profile offshore blade concept that should streamline designs for ultra-large-diameter rotors, while Acciona fashioned a drive-train fatigue estimator that gauges load limits of a turbine gearbox and other rotating parts. 

Other contributions to Azimut's R&D work included Técnicas Reunidas' demonstration of a new energy storage technology based on a zinc/air flow battery. 

"This turbine will be capable of overcoming the technical and financial hurdles currently limiting the roll-out of offshore wind energy, such as availability and cost of energy," says Gamesa.

Azimut brings together 11 companies, including Acciona Windpower, Alstom Wind, Acciona Energía, Iberdrola Renovables, Ingeteam, Imatia, Ingeciber, Digsilent Iberica, Técnicas Reunidas, and Tecnitest.