The recent International Symposium for Leading Edge Erosion in Roskilde, Denmark, was an interesting gathering of like-minded individuals.
The detail that the teams presenting there had drilled into, in terms of characterising and analysing material properties, is in my opinion, more advanced than how other high-tech industries are currently looking equivalent issues.
The work includes how material mechanical properties and energy absorption characteristics of polymers vary over wide frequency ranges. This is coupled with the comparison of lifetime prediction models using complex simulation techniques and mathematical models against tests and real-world data. An approach that is quite unique.
A highlight of the event was seeing DTU‘s +100m/s wind tunnel. The anechoic chamber is situated around the high-speed section of the tunnel, which helps eliminate reflections for the acoustic sensors, and goes to show the level of engineering that has gone into this world-leading facility.
It is mainly used to test high-speed blade tip sections and potential materials for protective shields on turbine blades. The tunnel’s motor requires 1.8MW to operate. Interestingly, this 1.8MW turns into heat, which then requires another 1.8MW to maintain a sensible ambient temperature. Good job DTU has a number of turbines around…
The most interesting thing is that the entire conference has had one aim, to eliminate rain erosion in order to advance the next generation of wind turbines.
This clearly shows that when businesses stop fighting each other, collaborate and share information against a common aim, the knowledge created is so valuable, not only to advance the innovation within the wind energy industry but to society as a whole.
If the wind turbine industry can crack this problem, then the mixture of wind energy in our overall energy supply can increase dramatically. This can be achieved by reducing the costs of blade repair and replacement, and increasing output performance, as the blades will not deteriorate aerodynamically. This would be another giant step towards a low carbon future.
Let’s hope OEMs get behind our lifetime metallic wind turbine blade protection solution and integrate this product into their next-generation turbine blades.
Dean Gardner, Engineering Director