Manufacture of High-Performance Tidal Turbine Blades Using Advanced Composite Manufacturing Technologies

William Finnegan* (Lead Author), Ronan Allen, Conor Glennon, James Maguire, Michael Flanagan, Tomas Flanagan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

After wind and solar energy, tidal energy presents the most prominent opportunity for generating energy from renewable sources. However, due to the harsh environment that tidal turbines are deployed in, a number of design and manufacture challenges are presented to engineers. As a consequence of the harsh environment, the loadings on the turbine blades are much greater than that on wind turbine blades and, therefore, require advanced solutions to be able to survive in this environment. In order to avoid issues with corrosion, tidal turbine blades are mainly manufactured from fibre reinforced polymer composite material. As a result, the main design and manufacture challenges are related to the main structural aspects of the blade, which are the spar and root, and the connection between the blade and the turbine hub. Therefore, in this paper, a range of advanced manufacturing technologies for producing a 1 MW tidal turbine blade are developed. The main novelty in this study comes with the challenges that are overcome due to the size of the blade, resulting in thickness composite sections (> 130 mm in places), the fast changes in geometry over a short length that isn’t the case for wind blades and the required durability of the material in the marine environment. These advances aim to increase the likelihood of survival of tidal turbine blades in operation for a design life of 20 + years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2061–2086
JournalApplied Composite Materials
Early online date16 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Blades
  • Composite materials
  • Mechanical testing
  • Structural design
  • Tidal energy


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