Professor Andrew Garrad, who is a member of SMV, has been awarded the 2024 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, alongside fellow wind turbine pioneer Henrik Stiesdal. This special award champions bold, ground-breaking engineering innovation which is of global benefit to humanity.
Andrew Garrad pioneered a mathematical approach to wind turbine and wind farm design. It allows engineers to model complicated turbine systems in their entirety and to predict their behaviour, with the confidence needed to permit manufacture of these huge machines. In parallel, lenders are given the confidence to lend funds to build giant wind farms both on and off shore.
Henrik Stiesdal pioneered a three-blade turbine that operates upwind of the tower and allows twisting of the blades about their own axis (pitch control) which has significantly enhanced scale and efficiency of modern turbines.
The prestigious award was presented by Lord Browne of Madingley, Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, during a reception held at the Science Museum on 6 February in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, Royal Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Professor Garrad said: “Wind energy has been with us for millennia, but in the last 50 years, it entered a new era. The 10m diameter turbines of my early professional life have become the 250m giants of today. I am personally immensely proud, but Henrik and I see ourselves as representatives of a much bigger group of people who have made wind energy an essential part of our zero-carbon future and we have, all of us together, earned this Prize.”
In December of last year, wind power accounted for over 41% of the overall share of the UK energy mix, its highest ever level, while gas-fired generation constituted its lowest share in four years. These significant changes have been made possible by revolutionary improvements in the generation of wind energy.
To find out more about this year’s winning innovation, visit www.qeprize.org/winners