The Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine in Methil, Fife.

New international collaboration to improve the performance of offshore wind turbine blades

Published 8 November 2017

A major international €4 million research collaboration between 10 European partners is leading the development of seven novel offshore wind turbine blade technologies, which could lower the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of offshore wind by as much as 4.7%.

The Offshore Demonstration Blade (ODB) project is supporting the research, development and demonstration of wind turbine blade innovations, including aerodynamic and structural enhancements, blade monitoring systems and blade erosion protection solutions. These products will be developed and retrofitted to the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s 7MW Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine in Scotland for demonstration purposes. The innovations will then be ready for deployment on existing or new offshore turbines.

The two-year Demowind-funded project will be coordinated by the UK’s ORE Catapult Development Services Ltd (ODSL), and involve leading organisations in wind turbine innovation including CENER, Bladena, TNO, Aerox, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Total Wind, Dansk IngeniørService A/S (DIS), the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and the Cardenal Herrera University (CEU) in Spain.

Operations and maintenance costs represent almost a quarter of the total LCOE of an offshore wind turbine, with rotor operations and maintenance, specifically blade erosion and blade structural integrity, representing a large share of these costs. Therefore, improving the performance and operational lifetime of turbine blades will have a direct impact on lowering LCOE.

Chris Hill, Operational Performance Director at ORE Catapult, said: “This project aims to develop a number of innovative technologies that have huge potential to further reduce the cost of offshore wind. Having a dedicated platform on which to demonstrate these technologies, the Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine, will improve our understanding of how they operate in real-world conditions and the impact they will have on blade performance, operations and cost of energy.”

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