The wind energy project was developed by Wind Power Ltd together with the universities of Cranfield and Sheffield, as well as the Strathclyde University of Glasgow and QinetiQ, a technology development British company. Arup, an engineering multinational, also participates in the project.
The newly conceived wind turbine is called Aerogenerator X and is an advanced model of Aerogenerator, manufactured by Wind Power. The current wind power project has doubled the capacity of the previous 5 MW version with half its weight. It’s approximately 274 metres wide and is supported by a structure similar to an oil platform.
Compared to an equivalent horizontal-axis wind turbine (such as those generally used in wind farm), Aerogenerator X has half its height and is V-shaped, with the weight concentrated at the base of the structure, thus greatly reducing the blades’ weight induced fatigue and minimizing the wear and tear. Moreover, the blades sections and thicknesses are increased, and this also helps to reduce the fatigue stress.
According to Theodore Bird, founder of Wind Power Limited, "vertical-axis projects are ideal for offshore wind farms, because they are big and easily managed".
Wind Power plans to develop the industrial-scale prototype by 2014 and to install 100 Aerogenerator X at sea off the UK by 2020, for a total capacity of 1,000 MW.