Wind turbine propeller protection

The objective of the project is the design and prototyping of a test equipment that allows to reproduce in an accelerated way the weather conditions of a wind turbine blade, allowing testing and evaluating the effects of erosion on the leading edge of the blade.

Uncertainty about the behavior of the material components of a wind turbine blade is resolved in the face of the constant impacts of eroding agents over time, whose information is key for the design of the tests, the manufacture of a test equipment and its standardization .

As a preliminary phase, a mathematical model is designed to predict the results of the tests using specialized software, which allows the research team to provide prior information that makes the real tests performed by the new prototype equipment much more significant and productive.

This project is integrated into a larger one, consisting of the development of a material based on synthetic polymers of the new hybrid polyurea-polyurethane technology for the coating of the attack area of ​​wind turbine blades, which allows its application in the phase of conformed of the blade maximizing effectiveness and efficiency of the processes.

The blades of wind turbines are exposed to external agents such as weather changes and erosion. Although these helices are treated with several protective layers, as well as with paints especially resistant to this type of aggressions, there is an area that is especially affected, the leading edge.

The leading edge is the longitudinal end of the propeller that first comes into contact with the air when it is in operation, thus being the area that suffers the most wear during the life of the blade.

The loss of efficiency of a wind turbine with attack edges as eroded as those of the previous images can reach more than 50% under certain conditions. For its part, the repair cost of the blade is very high because it requires dismantling the wind turbine, transporting the blade, re-applying additional protection and reinstalling it. That is why most of the expense in repairs carried out in wind turbines is as a consequence of damage in the leading edge. In addition, the cost of having the wind turbine stopped during the repair period must be added.

At the technical level, the success of this project means significantly increasing not only the useful life, but also the period of maximum efficiency of the wind turbines, in addition to reducing the high maintenance costs.

The main objective of the support program for Innovative Business Clusters (AEI) of MINETUR is to promote innovative collaborative projects by offering subsidies to companies that belong to the clusters recognized by the Ministry as AEIs.

Participants in the project:

  • UBE Corporation Europe
  • QMC Tecnología Química
  • Clúster de Energía de la Comunitat Valenciana