The world leader in the offshore wind industry, Vestas was looking to create an R&D facility to prototype and test its new wind turbine design. With 80m long blades, the V164 turbine is a huge leap in wind technology. Each turbine is set to generate seven megawatts of electricity – enough to power 7,000 homes. The Blade Technology Centre is designed to provide an environment in which these massive turbines may be built and tested to destruction. Ramboll led this project, and provided multidisciplinary services that covered the whole spectrum of design and engineering requirements.
The complex includes three buildings — a prototyping hall, a testing hall (each the size of two football fields), and an office block. A central glazed atrium houses reception facilities and a canteen.
An integrated design approach from the very beginning meant we could deliver the client’s vision for a flexible and sustainable development to an efficient programme. Our civils, structures and geotechnical engineers and services consultants worked together to develop a building layout and orientation that minimises solar gain and serves the overall natural ventilation design, and at the same time allowed for an efficient cut and fill strategy on the sloping riverbank site.
The steel frame R&D halls are nine storeys in height and have 54m clear spans. The halls had to be carefully tuned to accommodate the heavy loading requirements associated with testing and manufacturing the turbines — for example, each hall houses three 35-tonne travelling cranes. Massive 1500mm welded plate girder columns carry the roof load down through to 25m deep CFA piles. The roofs are portalised truss systems, prefabricated for speedy installation. This portalised philosophy means Vestas may extend the halls in future by simply adding more bays.
The complex is designed for energy efficiency and has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating. Sustainable design features include a rainwater harvesting system, a self-contained sewage plant, ground source heat pumps (providing all the heating and cooling requirements to the office block), natural ventilation chilled beams and night cooling.