Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2017-62
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research articles 21 Feb 2018

Research articles | 21 Feb 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal Wind Energy Science (WES).

Extending the life of wind turbine blade leading edges by reducing the tip speed during extreme precipitation events

Jakob I. Bech, Charlotte B. Hasager, and Christian Bak Jakob I. Bech et al.
  • Department of Wind Energy, Technical University of Denmark, Roskilde, 4000, Denmark

Abstract. Impact fatigue caused by collision with rain droplets, hail stones and other airborne particles, also known as rain erosion, is a severe problem for wind turbine blades. Each impact on the leading edge adds an increment to the accumulated damage in the material. After a number of impacts the leading edge material will crack. This paper presents and supports the hypothesis that the vast majority of the damage accumulated in the leading edge is imposed at extreme precipitation condition events, which occur during a very small fraction of the turbines operation life. By reducing the tip speed of the blades during these events, the service life of the leading edges significantly increases from a few years to the full expected lifetime of the wind turbine. In the worst case at the cost of a negligible reduction of annual energy production (AEP) and in the best case with a significant increase in AEP.

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Jakob I. Bech et al.
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Short summary
Rain erosion on wind turbine blades is a severe challenge for wind energy today. It causes significant losses in power production, and large sums are spent on inspection and repair. Blade life can be extended, power production increased, and maintenance costs reduced by rotor speed reduction at extreme precipitation events. Combining erosion test results, meteorological data and models of blade performance, we show that a turbine control strategy is a promising new weapon against blade erosion.
Rain erosion on wind turbine blades is a severe challenge for wind energy today. It causes...
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