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Windpower alliance to tackle turbine blade erosion

An alliance of ten of the world’s biggest players in the windpower sector have come together to collaborate on protecting turbine blades from weather damage.

The initiative has been launched by energy advisory and certification group DNV GL, which has recruited Vestas, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, LM Wind Power, àƒËœrsted, Senvion, Mankeweicz, Akzonobel, Aerox-CEU, Polytech, Hempel and PPG.

Together the companies ” which are turbine OEMs or coating specialists ” will form an industry project called Comprehensive Methodology for Blade Rain Erosion Analysis.

Rich Barnes of DNV GL said that : “Erosion of blades is affecting the global wind industry. Increasing the performance of wind turbines and blades is crucial for the transition to a cleaner energy system.

“There is currently a lack of methods and design protection systems to prevent blade erosion, so it is vital to identify solutions and develop tools to tackle erosion problems.”

The project will investigate the damage caused to leading edge wind turbine blades from the high-speed impacts of raindrops and identify how best to develop protection systems.

Rain erosion damage can be significant on unprotected wind turbine blades. While the damage caused doesn’t often impact the structural integrity of a blade, it can influence energy generation over the life of a turbine due to degrading the aerodynamic performance of blades.

The outcome of the project will be a recommended practice for designing a protection system against rain erosion which will be published by July 2020.

The cross-industry working group aims to identify and define relevant material properties for a protection system; Develop a methodology to handle and derive design loads from rain data; and develop both a model to conduct raindrop impact analysis and a design methodology for leading edge protection systems.

Steffen Laustsen, Head of Blade Materials for Offshore Technology at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, said: “With the trend of building larger machines continuing, greater research is required to provide more protection for wind turbine blades against rain erosion. The high blade tip velocities associated with large blades makes the impact of rain especially demanding. We look forward to collaborating with the Joint Industry Project partners across all industries to improve the quality and durability of future blade designs.”