MaxBlade - Chancellor Launches €10m Project at FastBlade to Maximize Tidal Energy Generation

The MAXBlade project, which aims to maximise tidal energy generation and reduce costs, was officially launched in the presence of Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, who is also the Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh. During her visit to the University's FastBlade facility, she met with colleagues from the testing facility and partners of the new project.

The €10 million project, funded by the European Union and UK Research and Innovation, will investigate the full lifecycle of tidal turbine blades, from materials, manufacture and operation, to decommissioning and recyclability. Its long-term aim is to ensure the European composite sector becomes the international leader in tidal blade manufacture.

The MAXBlade project plans to increase the area harnessed by Scottish tidal technology company Orbital Marine Power to generate power, known as the rotor swept area, by 70%, to more than 1,000 square metres. It will also increase the length of the turbine blades from 10 to 13 metres, making them the longest of their kind in the world. The team says that boosting blade length will have the single greatest impact on reducing the cost of tidal energy.

The project will involve a two-year design and development phase, followed by an 18-month build, during which blades will undergo advanced structural testing at FastBlade. The technology will then undergo two years of real-world testing at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. Two of Orbital Marine Power’s O2 floating platforms, the world’s most powerful tidal turbines, will each be fitted with four of the newly developed blades.

The team aims to generate 120,000 hours of performance data that will be assessed by the European Marine Energy Centre and project partner TECNALIA, a research and technological development centre. Innovations from MAXBlade will be integrated with findings from its sister project, FORWARD2030, to enable large-scale production of Orbital’s O2 turbine technology.

Overall, the MAXBlade project represents a major step towards the development of more cost-effective and efficient tidal turbines, which could help to significantly boost the growth of the tidal energy sector in Europe and beyond.

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