World’s largest plane to carry wind turbines and save Earth

  • Energy company, Radia, is building the world’s biggest plane.
  • Named WindRunner,  the aircraft is designed to transport gigantic wind turbine blades
  • It’s hoped to facilitate the creation of remote and offshore wind farms

Published on Jul 01, 2024 at 4:59 PM (UTC+4)
by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

Last updated on Jul 02, 2024 at 11:24 AM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

An energy company is building the world’s largest plane to carry wind turbines.

Radia’s WindRunner plane will run on sustainable aviation fuel.

The energy company is tripling the current $ 1.2 trillion-per-year spend in the hopes of building more wind farms and reaching net zero by 2050.

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What you need to know about the giant wind turbines

Per the World Economic Forum’s (WFE) Global Future Council on the Future of Energy Transition, WindRunner is designed to transport gigantic wind turbine blades.

The blades will be delivered to remote onshore locations to facilitate the transition to renewable energy.

The new generation of massive onshore wind turbines that are significantly more powerful than traditional wind turbines is known as GigaWind.

Giant rotor blades enable far more wind energy from lower wind speeds – from the seven meters per second required today, down to five meters per second – higher up.

In a recent episode of WFE’s Meet the Leader podcast aerospace engineer and founder and CEO of Radia, Mark Lundstrom, about his motivations.

Per a recent report by consulting firm DeSolve LLC, the WindRunner fleet, could add up to 216GW to the United States’ grid, and supply up to 40% of total US electricity generation by 2050.

According to Radia, GigaWind could lower US energy prices by up to 16 percent, and reduce grid emissions by 15-31 percent.

The world’s largest plane used to transport them

What’s more, the fleet of the world’s largest planes could avoid up to 760 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.

“Imagine offshore-sized wind turbines deployed onshore. What this enables you to do is have a path to the cheapest energy in the world and the cheapest green energy in the world – and it’s done by using basically existing technology,” Lundstrom said.

He also stated that reducing the cost of onshore wind by a third will triple the acreage where wind is economically viable globally.

The one thing standing in the way of the breakthrough? Transportation for the mega turbines.

“Today, the turbines are simply too big to get under bridges, through tunnels, around curves – and that’s why blades are typically limited in the 70-meter range or so onshore, whereas offshore they’re well over 100 meters in length – Eiffel Tower-sized machines,” said Lundstrom.

Currently in development, WindRunner will optimize on volume instead of weight.

Plans were revealed earlier this year.

Able to carry 70 tons, it has a volume that’s 12 times bigger than a 747 aircraft, Lundstrom explained.

Crucially, the cargo hold can carry a 100 meter plus blade ahead of landing on a short, unpaved airstrip with a 2,000 km range.

What’s the timeline?

“We intend to have a fairly sizable fleet operating before 2029,” Lundstrom shared – as all the parts are already flying and certified.

Although WindRunner is ‘very unique’ due to its size and landing capabilities, “there’s no new aerospace technology that’s being used”, Lundstrom said.

It’s also hoped the giant aircraft could help humanitarian organizations supply a large amount of supplies to those in need after a natural disaster.

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Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

London-based Amelia cut her journalistic teeth covering all things lifestyle, wellness and luxury in the UK capital. Fast-forward a decade and the experienced content creator and editor has put pen to paper for glossy magazines, busy newsrooms and coveted brands. When her OOO is on you can find her spending quality time with her young family, in the gym or exploring the city she loves.