The world’s largest aircraft expected to change wind power industry


(Image: Radia)

The blades of offshore wind turbines are heavy and long, making them nearly impossible to transport except by specialized large vessels. However, the American unicorn company Radia is currently developing an unprecedented giant aircraft, which is expected to revolutionize the industry and significantly enhance the scale of the wind power sector.

According to Wall Street Journal, rocket scientist Mark Lundstrom founded Radia in 2016, merging aerospace engineering with energy transformation, aiming to tackle the transportation challenges of wind turbine blades. As a result, he spent over 7 years designing the WindRunner. If completed, its length and cargo capacity would hit a record.

The WindRunner has a body length of approximately 108 meters, equivalent to the length of an American football field. It boasts a wingspan of nearly 80 meters and can carry a maximum weight of 80 tons, making it 12 times larger than a Boeing 747 aircraft. It has the capacity to transport either one large offshore wind turbine blade or four shorter blades at a time.

(Image: Radia)

Former U.S. Secretary of Energy and current advisor to Radia, Ernest Moniz, pointed out that United States are promoting the electrification of transportation and heating. Additionally, the booming development of manufacturing industries and artificial intelligence data centers has led to a sharp increase in electricity demand and clean energy sources.

Estimate shows larger wind turbines can reduce energy costs by up to 35% compared to current onshore wind turbines, and they can also improve power generation stability by 20%. Radia believes that if the largest wind turbines can be used on land, it will completely change the landscape of the wind power industry. This is particularly significant given the slowdown of onshore wind power in the U.S. and the price fluctuations of offshore wind.

The analytics service provider PitchBook said, Radia has successfully raised 104 million USD with an estimated valuation of 1 billion USD. The backers include petroleum and investment consulting companies. Additionally, Radia has recruited executives or advisors from Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration, and senior officials in renewable energy sectors.

Radia stated that it would take 8 years from design to certification for the WindRunner, and the progress is currently halfway completed. Mark Lundstrom has not disclosed the design details of the aircraft to the public until recently. Radia also hinted at the possibility of developing wind power projects in the future.

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