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Innovation Challenges

Develop alternative Leading Edge Protection solutions for repairing existing Blades in service.

Issue

Blade leading edge erosion is the largest issue on blades for both OEMs and Operators and could cost up to £2.4 million per turbine in repairs and lost revenue over its lifetime for offshore blades. Many OEMs are developing new solutions for production blades, but Operators including Statkraft, EDF and DONG Energy are looking for repair materials for current blades in the near future (12 months). They are looking for repairs which can be performed rapidly and easily in-situ offshore, with extended weather windows for curing and with good long-term erosion performance.

Challenge

The proposed solutions for this challenge must be deployable without adding additional complexities to the repair process, an increase in long-term operating cost, or increase Health and Safety effects and must be at least equal or extend the repair weather windows for repairing the blade by rope access.

Functional Requirements
• Solutions must meet the colour and gloss regulatory requirements,
• Solutions must meet the current environmental weathering requirements, and improve rain erosion performance.
• Solutions must be able to be rapidly implemented.
• Solutions must either be able to be applied by rope access, or by a technology which replaces rope access.

Technical Characteristics
• The solution must meet ISO TS 19392-1
• The solution must be tested to either ISO TS 19392-2 or -3, or DNV GL Guideline

Deployment Timescale
• The validation of the solution should occur within 6 months
• Field trials should commence within 1-2 years
• Commercial deployment should be expected in 3 years

Operating Conditions
• Ambient air temperature range of -10⁰C to 40⁰C
• Relative humidity up to 100%
• Solar radiation intensity of 1000W/m2

Cost Requirements
• Similar long term OPEX to current repair materials


Blade leading edge erosion is the largest issue on blades for both OEMs and Operators and could cost up to £2.4 million per turbine in repairs and lost revenue over its lifetime for offshore blades.

Opportunities

Turbines are increasing in size, therefore, blades are getting longer and powertrain systems are increasing in capacity.

From 2010 to 2016, wind turbine power rating has grown by 60%. In 2016, the average capacity of new wind turbines installed was 4.8 MW, a significant increase from 3.0 MW in 2010, reflecting a period of continuous development. The first 8MW turbines have been in operation since late 2016.

Offshore wind turbine blades tend to be between 50 and 88m long. Condition monitoring is becoming more critical as owner/operators look to improve their understanding of blade erosion and remedial repair requirements as the assets age. The service and repair market for blades is experiencing rapid growth due to the accumulation effect of continual wind farm development and installation.

Market size
The blades and powertrains market has seen rapid growth following a sustained offshore wind build program in Europe led by the UK and Germany. Europe has 3,589 offshore turbines installed and grid-connected as of January 2017 with a total capacity of 12.631GW across 10 European countries.

Market Forecast
The 11 offshore projects under construction in Europe as of June 2017 will increase installed capacity by a further 4.8GW, equating to around 800 new powertrain systems and 2400 new blades just for offshore wind alone. In 2016 a total of 4,948MW of new capacity reached FID and it is projected that the total European installed capacity will reach 24.6GW by 2020.

Do you have a potential solution?

Providing protection and repair solutions for current operational blades is vital to extend their service life.

Apply now

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