Italian renewable energy company Enel Green Power today announced its partnership with the Scottish startup ACT Blade, which uses fabric in the blades of its wind turbines.
ACT Blade's wind blade technology incorporates fabrics similar to what boat sails are made of. This makes the blades of its turbines lighter, because they have a slender supporting structure in composite material completely covered with technical fabric. The new blades made with "wind sails" are longer and produce more energy for the same weight than traditional ones. Costs are also lower: the structure is made with fewer materials and benefits from simpler and leaner modular production processes, leading to anticipated savings of up to 17%.
Aeolian sails, the "circular" wind
ACT Blade's technology fits perfectly with a circular wind farm management strategy: maximizing the reuse and recycling of materials and components and applying a circular perspective right from the design stage. In general, the recycling of metals (which make up the bulk of a wind turbine) is quite simple, while the composite materials used to make the rotor blades are more complex. So this technology based on wind sails is an interesting option to make thewind energy even more sustainable.
The fact that ACT blades do not degrade and can be recycled has aroused the interest of Enel Green Energy. We are excited to recycle and reuse wind turbine materials and components in a cost-effective way.Nicola Rossi, Head of Innovation Global Power Generation of Enel Green Energy
The next steps
The partnership with Enel will allow ACT Blade wind sail technology to be tested in real environments. This will accelerate the growth of the startup and its entry into the market. The experimental blades are already being tested in Glasgow. Sabrina Malpede, co-founder and CEO of ACT Blade, was a competitive sailor and applied what she learned in her sport to the startup's wind turbines.
In July ACT Blade reached an important milestone with the installation of three ACT27 "sail" blades on a wind turbine in Myres Hill, Glasgow, demonstrating not only the structural integrity of the system, but also its performance.
The startup is currently working on the development of the first product to be launched on the market. Will wind sails become a commercial success and revolutionize the wind energy industry? We will see.