Quite a lot according to Boeing and Vestas
Vestas and Boeing might not make the most likely bed fellows, what with one being a darling of the renewable energy industry and the other a leading player in the carbon intensive aviation sector, but that has not stopped the two firms today inking a major new partnership that will see them co-operate on the development of their respective technologies.
The deal, which was formally announced on the fringes of this week's Climate Congress conference in Copenhagen, will result in research and development teams from the two companies working together on a number of projects to identify new durable lightweight composite materials and improve the aerodynamics of rotor blades and plane wings.
Jan Narlinge, president of Boeing in northern Europe, said there were several obvious areas where the company's could co-operate.
"We have expertise in many of the same areas, such as aerodynamics and material science," he said, adding that the companies had already identified at least five potential projects they could co-operate on, including work to identify how new composite materials used in turbines and aircraft could be recycled.
He added that the companies could also work together on improving the supply chain for new lightweight materials.
"Composites are developing fast and we need new technologies for manufacturing them and developing them through the supply chain," he said.
Jan Kristiansen, senior vice president for global research at Vestas, said that there were also a lot of "synergies" the two companies could realise in their use of aerodynamic modelling systems.
Speaking at a separate event at the conference, Erik Luntag Petersen of Risoe DTU's Wind Energy Department in Denmark, said that the wind energy sector could also learn from the reliability achieved by the aviation sector, arguing that turbines had to achieve a failure rate on a par with that of aircraft.