QinetiQ has received funding from the DTI to develop the world’s first stealthy wind turbine blades.
Green power produced by wind energy plays an integral part in the government’s commitment to achieving its target of 10% of Britain’s power being generated by renewable energy by 2010. But a large percentage of wind farms are turned down by the MoD at the planning application stage as radar systems used for air traffic control, marine navigation, weather monitoring and defence systems can be affected by unwanted reflections from wind turbines.
QinetiQ will work with NOI Scotland, a UK-based manufacturer of wind turbine blades, to develop glass fibre reinforced polymer blades that can be made to absorb radar signals without compromising their structural integrity. The project will research blade materials to counter the range of frequencies over which various radar systems operate. It will also use sophisticated computer modelling tools, developed in recent years by QinetiQ to predict the impact of these new, stealthy wind turbines.
NOI Scotland has a resin-infusion manufacturing process suitable for producing 50 metre plus blades needed for offshore wind turbines generating 2MW or more. Steve Appleton, the QirietiQ technical leader of the new DTI project, said, ‘This is an excellent example of how the results of military research can be exploited for civil gain.’