Great Danes

For wind power supremacy, Denmark’s the spot

While wind power in the United States gains momentum and notoriety, it continues to lag well behind the production of a number of European countries. Denmark reiterated this point earlier this week when two companies based there reported progress on building the world’s largest wind turbine, an 88.4 meter-long behemoth. One of these companies, LM Wind Power, has grown accustomed to breaking its own records.

Denmark is once again home to the world's biggest wind turbine.

Denmark is once again home to the world’s biggest wind turbine.—LM Wind Power photo

LM Wind Power will be pairing with Adwen on this project, another Danish company. The record-setting turbine will have a rotor diameter of 180 meters, making it not only the largest wind turbine in the world, but also one of the largest mechanical structures on earth, according to the LM Wind Power website. One of these turbines is said to be capable of powering 10,000 homes and is estimated to last for at least 25 years.

When completed, it will mark the third time in the past decade that Denmark—courtesy of LM Power—has set the bar for this particular record.

During the COP15 (United Nations Climate Change Conference) in 2009, an LM 61.5 P blade was installed at the main entrance of the Bella Center to greet conference delegates. That blade, developed mainly for offshore projects off the coast of Germany, Scotland and Belgium, was the world’s longest wind turbine blade in serial production at the time. The following year, LM Wind Power took part in setting an aviation record. They commissioned the An-225 to carry the world’s longest piece of air cargo, as it flew two new 42-meter wind turbine blades from one of its factories in Tianjin, China to its test facility in Lunderskov, Denmark. To complete the three-year run of record-setting, 2011 saw LM Wind Power produce the world’s largest wind turbine blade at the time, again—this time 73.5 meters. For comparison, this is the same height as a 24-story building.

The size of a turbine aims to lower energy cost, as well as per-kilowatt hour cost of construction; and extend operation of the turbine’s overall life cycle. These improvements make wind power a more financially competitive alternative to other energy sources.

The 2016 version, when finished (they expect a prototype done this year, and regular installation by 2018) will have a nominal capacity of 8 MW, which can be compared to the 2-3 MW of conventional wind turbines. The giant wind turbine, called the AD 8-180, will produce more energy in a year than any other wind turbine.

The turbine in production at LM's main facility.—LM Wind Power photo

The turbine in production at LM’s main facility.—LM Wind Power photo

“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.”, says Luis Álvarez, Adwen General Manager.

According to Business Green, serial production is scheduled to start in 2018, but the first prototype of the gigantic wind turbine will stand ready in 2016.

LM Wind Power has U.S. production facilities in Grand Forks, N.D., and Little Rock, Ark.

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