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Gearbox firm wins bid to accelerate UK offshore wind

Government scheme grant aims to develop next generation turbine technology and reduce wind energy costs by 5 per cent

The grant is for a UK government scheme aiming to accelerate development in offs
The grant is for a government scheme aiming to accelerate development in UK offshore wind

A world-leading gear engineering and manufacturing company has been confirmed as the first successful bidder to a major UK Government scheme to support developments of next generation offshore wind energy turbines. 

UK firm David Brown Gear Systems (David Brown) has been awarded a GBP 1.2m grant to help develop its 7MW offshore wind turbine gearbox. The technology will be used for South Korean firm Samsung Heavy Industries’ new turbine. The gearbox, through its low weight and compact design, can improve cost of ownership and ultimately lower the cost of energy for wind turbine operators.

David Brown is the first company to be awarded funding under the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Technology Strategy Board’s GBP 5m Offshore Wind Component Technologies Innovation scheme. Launched last November, the scheme aims to help innovators reduce the cost of energy for wind turbine operators by as much as 5 per cent.

Greg Barker, energy and climate change minister, said: “The coalition is determined to drive ambitious green growth and this is putting our money where our mouth is. This cash shows we are really shifting gear when it comes to supporting innovation and offshore wind. Making wind turbines more efficient is common sense and will help bring down the costs making them more attractive to build and helping us increase the amount of electricity we get from clean, green sources. It’s great to see David Brown Gear Systems stepping up to the challenge to ensure wind turbines work in the most efficient way.”

Ian Farquhar, managing director wind energy, David Brown Gear Systems, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the Offshore Wind Components Technologies Innovation scheme to help develop a wind turbine gearbox, which aims to reduce the cost of energy for wind turbine operators by as much as 5 per cent.

“At David Brown we strive to be leaders in the gearing technologies of tomorrow and this grant will allow us to reduce the financial risk of bringing a beneficial product to market. This is a major boost to both David Brown and the UK supply chain, not only in terms of immediate supply partners but additionally, the wider opportunities that will develop as a result.”

This marks the first round of funding under the Offshore Wind Components Technologies Innovation scheme, further winners will be announced and a second call for ideas will be launched later this year.

Turbine components to accelerate performance is one of the many sessions that will be featured in the agenda for BigSwitch Offshore Wind. The international event, which Renewable Energy Technology (RET) is sponsoring, is taking place in Glasgow on 26th and 27th June. It aims to advance technological developments across global offshore wind by encouraging the European renewable energy industry to work with key delegations from the world’s biggest emerging markets, including China and India, as well as the US.

For more information on the event, please email RET Editor Heath Reidy at heath.reidy@bric.com.