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Offshore Wind Journal

Joint industry project will tackle leading edge erosion

Thu 07 Mar 2019 by David Foxwell

Joint industry project will tackle leading edge erosion
Leading edge erosion adversely affects the performance of wind turbine

DNV GL has launched a joint industry project to analyse damage caused to wind turbine blades by leading edge erosion.

Apart from DNV GL, the COmprehensive methodology for Blade Rain erosion Analysis (COBRA) project also includes 10 commercial partners, Vestas, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, LM Wind Power, Ørsted, Mankeweicz, Akzonobel, Aerox-CEU, Polytech, Hempel and PPG.

Although leading edge erosion doesn’t often affect the structural integrity of a blade, it can influence energy generation over the life of a turbine by degrading blades’ aerodynamic performance.

The outcome of the project will be recommended practice for designing a protection system against erosion. It is due to 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; develop a model to conduct raindrop impact analysis; and develop a design methodology for leading edge protection systems.

Siemens Gamesa head of blade materials Steffen Laustsen said, “With the trend to building larger turbines, more research is required to provide more protection against rain erosion. The high blade tip velocities associated with large blades make the impact of rain especially challenging.”

DNV GL Americas executive vice president Rich Barnes said, “Increasing the performance of wind turbines and blades is crucial for the transition to a cleaner energy system. Erosion of blades is affecting the global wind industry. 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 it. The COBRA project will address these challenges and share knowledge to advance the understanding within the wind energy industry.”

Interested parties can still join the project, subject to approval by the steering committee.

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