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Energy

A Mighty Wind Turbine

Manufacturing, transporting, and constructing the world’s largest wind turbine represents a unique challenge.

A special truck transports the largest wind turbine blade in the world, which stretches 75 meters long. The turbine is seen here en route from Esbjerg to Østerild in Denmark, where it will be installed. Larger turbines generate more power than small ones, and do so more efficiently.

The ultimate size of wind turbines is limited mainly by the challenge of delivering components through towns and under power lines.

The mold used to produce the 75-meter blade gives a sense of the manufacturing process’s scale. The blades will be used on six-megawatt wind turbines made by Siemens. Most turbines produce just two to three megawatts of power.

The blades are cast in one piece because they are stronger if they have no joints.

Checking for defects is a key step in manufacturing. Even small errors can results in catastrophic failure, because the turbines encounter high pressures while traveling at 10 meters per second.

The blades shown here are the 58-meter predecessors to the new 75-meter ones. The turbine is a prototype of Siemens’s new six-megawatt design.

Workers are dwarfed by the six-megawatt wind turbine’s nacelle.

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