The future of wind turbines, explained today

Published 27 June 2022

Offshore wind is set to play a major role in powering the UK towards net zero.

Over the next decade, as the number of wind farms increase exponentially, we will see a transformation in the design, manufacture and lifetime management of wind turbines as they evolve with innovation.

As part of this new industrial revolution, the blades of tomorrow are set to increase in size, with improved aerodynamic performance and durability. They will also need to adapt to work within operations that are digitalised and decarbonised. But how do we meet the demand for bigger, better performing, more resilient and sustainable blades over the next few years?

Research and development into future blades is making great strides and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult is leading the way in this. Last month we highlighted the challenges and opportunities within the industry during Wind Turbine Blades Week – when experts across the industry came together to discuss blade design, how they operate, their manufacture, recycling, and the wider digital market around blades, with examples such as robotic blade crawlers and drones used for inspection and repair.

Take a look at some of the discussions we had over the week with some of the best in the business.

Wind Turbine Blades Week Webinar 1 – IN PURSUIT OF MORE ENERGY: Design challenges and choices

  • What are the key challenges facing wind blade designers?
  • What are the design choices being explored? What challenges need to be prioritised?

Wind Blades Webinar Week Webinar 2 – COMPOSITES: What is their future in the wind industry?

  • How do we support materials innovation?
  • Is there an issue with future supply of resources for composites?
  • Are there credible alternatives? What about biomaterials, self-healing materials – are they realistic?

Wind Turbine Blades Week Webinar 3 – DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION: What is the future of blade maintenance?

  • Where does the industry stand on operations and maintenance?
  • What are the priority areas for development at ORE Catapult?
  • What can robotic solutions offer and how close are we to wide adoption on turbines?

Wind Turbine Blades Week Webinar 4 – CIRCULARITY: Making wind turbine blades more sustainable

  • What do we mean by circularity?
  • What are the challenges in decommissioning?
  • What research and development is going into end of life processing for blades and what solutions are there for blade recycling?

Wind Turbine Blades Week 5 – MANUFACTURING & SUPPLY CHAIN: How can the UK maximise opportunities?

  • What is the current landscape for blade manufacture and for supply chain services in the UK?
  • What can we learn from the steel and fabrication sector?
  • How do we avoid the scenario where the UK loses the opportunity to establish itself as the go-to location for blade manufacture, circularity and services?


For more information on next generation wind turbine blades, take a look at our interactive Wind Turbine Blades Playbook