AQUADA: Automated quantification of damages in composite wind turbine blades for LCOE reduction

Xiao Chen*, ASM Shihavuddin, Steen Hjelm Madsen, Kenneth Thomsen, Steffen Rasmussen, Kim Branner

*Corresponding author for this work

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Reliability and cost are two important driving factors in the development of wind energy. Automation and digitalization of operation and maintenance (O&M) procedures help to increase turbine reliability and reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). Here, we demonstrate a novel method, coined as AQUADA, which may change the current labor-intensive and operation-interfering blade inspection by using thermography and computer vision. We experimentally show that structural damages below the surfaces can be detected and quantified remotely when wind turbine blades are subject to fatigue loads. The data acquisition and analysis are automatically done in one single step, which may shift the current inspection paradigm through more automated O&M procedures. The cost analysis shows that the AQUADA method has a potential to at least half the total inspection cost and reduce the LCOE by 1%–2% when applied to a baseline land-based wind farm consisting of twenty 2.45-MW turbines. All data and source codes are published for researchers to reproduce our results and facilitate further development of AQUADA towards more mature industrial applications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWind Energy
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)535-548
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Composite blades
  • Computer vision
  • Damage inspection
  • Digitalization
  • Fatigue
  • Operation and maintenance
  • Thermography


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