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

Jakob Ilsted Bech*, Charlotte Bay Hasager, Christian Bak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Impact fatigue caused by collision with rain droplets, hail stones and other airborne particles, also known as leading-edge 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 turbine's 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. This life extension may cost a negligible reduction in annual energy production (AEP) in the worst case, and in the best case a significant increase in AEP will be achieved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWind Energy Science
Volume3
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)729-748
ISSN2366-7443
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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