The world’s largest wind turbine is being constructed in Denmark following the completion of the enormous rotor blades that will power it.
Just one of its three blades stretches more than 290 feet and when complete it will be able to provide power for a small town of more than 10,000 homes.
The Adwen AD8-180 will stand on a mast more than 295 feet (90 metres) tall when its installed, engineers say.
With a blade diameter of 590 feet (180m) it will be 33 per cent bigger than the iconic London Eye.
The first onshore prototype of the 8 MW system will be installed by the end of the year in Bremerhaven, Germany.
But these enormous turbines are scheduled to form part of three huge offshore wind farms in France, each with a capacity of 500 MW of energy.
Just a single of these huge turbines is able to generate up to 8 MW of power if it gets enough wind – enough to power more than 10,000 homes.
The blades, which have been produced by Danish firm LM Wind Power with Adwen, are so big that the roads they are transported on need to be shut to public traffic.
Luis Álvarez, Adwen general manager, said ‘When you are building the largest wind turbine in the world, almost everything you do is an unprecedented challenge.
‘We are going where no one else has ever gone before, pushing all the known frontiers in the industry.’
In order to build the enormous turbine blades the technology has had to undergo extensive safety testing.
The blades have been designed to resist high energy lightning strikes that can be a hazard to such large wind turbines.
Aerodynamics testing has also helped the companies perfect the design to help them squeeze as much power as possible from the enormous turbines.
Jesper Madsen, chief engineer of the aerodynamics at LM Wind Power, said: ‘The cost of energy depends on many things – aerodynamics is the key important thing because it generates the power in the turbine.
‘So here we’re optimising between aerodynamic performance and the cost of the blade. In actual numbers, it means that with the optimisation in the wind tunnel we can gain may be one per cent extra in annual energy production.
‘For a big rotor or turbine of six to eight megawatts, one percent extra in annual production is a lot of energy.’
A special coating has also been developed for the leading edge of the blades.
Due to the high speeds such large blades can generate as they move through the air, dust and raindrops can damage it over time, causing the surface to become pitted.
They have developed a coating to help protect the edge and shed water from the blades.
Emil Sorensen, an engineer at LM Wind Power said: ‘It make me feel really proud. It’s some of the world’s biggest constructions.
‘I can’t think of many things which are so long and so wide that they can’t be transported on a public road without closing it down.’