A MASSIVE structure which will hold the blades of wind turbines while they are being tested has been delivered to its new home in Blyth.
The biggest blade testing hub in the world is being built at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) on the Northumberland coast and this 5,700sq m section arrived this week from its maker, Shepherd Construction.
The project is the second of three structures to be completed at Blyth as part of a £80m-plus investment by Narec in world-class facilities for the accelerated testing of offshore renewable energy technologies.
It will now be able to test 100m blades as well as the 50m blades it currently works on. Shepherd Construction has worked extremely closely with Narec and the project team to find an engineered solution that would withstand the forces applied during testing and the vibrations that will be created.
The result is a test hub comprising a 15-metre high concrete superstructure with two huge rings.
The top ring of 8m diameter is designed to accommodate the testing of blades up to 100m.
To achieve the exact position of the rings within the concrete structure 216 post-tensioned bars have been cast in to extremely tight tolerances of +/- 3mm.
Special winches fixed to 132 circular steel rings in the floor have also been manufactured and will be used to flex the blades during testing.