Can you explain a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Sabrina Malpede, I am the Executive Director of ACT Blade. Prior to that I co-founded SMAR-Azure Ltd, providing innovative solutions to the marine industry. I was a Research Fellow at Imperial College London, and hold a Ph.D in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Glasgow.
ACT Blade Team
Can you explain the project you have received Challenge Funding for?
The project intended to experimentally validate the use of the textile for wind turbine blades. The experimental tests included wind tunnel tests of a textile model at the University of Glasgow, and textile material tests including hail gun and rain erosion tests at the University of Heriot-Watt. We also assessed the textile companies’ capabilities in Scotland.
Why do you believe the textiles industry needs the project you are working on?
The Wind Energy industry is on a mission to lower the cost of energy. The easiest way to reduce that cost is by developing larger turbines and longer blades. This textile enables us to make blades lighter and therefore creates an opportunity to build longer blades. Considering that the industry is worth more than £6billion per annum, we believe this is an extremely worthy project for the textile industry.
What have you managed to achieve progress on since you were awarded the Challenge Fund?
We managed to assess the Scottish capabilities. We have also managed to understand some important features of the aerodynamic performance. We had a few textile material results.
What impact has your project had, to date?
To date, the project has clarified that we need further investigation. The company had to raise fund and has created 9 jobs on the process.
What does the future look like for your project?
The next steps are building the first demonstrator and prototype and consequently piloting it.
Sabrina Malpede interviewed by Kimberley White