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Wind turbine pioneers awarded QE Prize for Engineering

Posted on 13 Feb 2024 and read 525 times
Wind turbine pioneers awarded QE Prize for EngineeringThe 2024 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering has been awarded to Andrew Garrad and Henrik Stiesdal for their achievements in advancing the design, manufacture and deployment of high-performance wind turbines, allowing wind energy to revolutionise the world’s electricity generation. Over the last four decades, they have made groundbreaking engineering inputs, developing the early technology and maintaining their presence in leading positions as the industry has grown, enabling the world’s largest rotating machines, which help drive progress toward ‘net zero’.

Together, the work of the 2024 Laureates has contributed the technological advancements necessary to create today’s modern wind turbines operating on land and offshore. Through their innovations they have prepared technology platforms from demonstration projects to full-scale implementation, facilitating a dramatic increase in the size of individual wind turbines, the scale of the wind farms in which they are sited as well as their engineering and economic performance.

Mr Stiesdal has developed elegant innovations for increasing the scale and efficiency of wind turbines. In 1991, he was responsible for the turbine design for the world’s first offshore wind farm, and he subsequently developed several new key features of the offshore turbines that are set to deliver 50% of Europe’s electricity by 2050. His specific innovations include wind turbine blades cast in one piece, and direct-drive generators for offshore wind turbines eliminating the need for gearboxes.

The BLADED computational design tool, pioneered by Mr Garrad, allows engineers to model a complicated turbine system in its entirety and to predict its behaviour with the confidence needed to permit manufacture of these huge machines. It has been used all over the world and through the consultancy company he co-founded, which supported the industry through design consultancy, testing, measurements, energy evaluation and technical due diligence, has allowed the rapid expansion of the global manufacturing base. A similar analytical approach to wind farm yield pioneered widespread project finance by providing rigorous risk assessments of potential wind farm investment.