Dundee firm Edge Solutions has secured a £700,000 investment to roll out a system to protect wind turbine blades.
The firm has developed an ‘erosion shield’ named armourEDGE, which repairs eroded wind turbine blades.
Each armourEDGE shield is up to one metre long and is custom formed to the exact blade type.
Trained technicians bond the shields to the leading edge of wind turbine blades.
The aim is to provide a full-life protection that minimises maintenance costs and maximises energy production.
The product has been developed in collaboration with global firm INEOS Styrolution, aiming to ‘revolutionise the protection’ of wind farms.
Edge Solutions innovation in use in Europe
ArmourEDGE tackles a problem known as leading edge erosion, affecting the majority of operational wind turbines.
Edge Solutions managing director David Urch said: “Leading edge erosion is a significant issue for wind turbines, offshore and onshore.
“With tip speeds approaching 330 kilometres an hour, continual impacts by rain, hail, ice and other airborne particulates damage the blade surface, leading to increased drag and reduced energy production.
“This drives up operating cost due to increased maintenance downtime and ultimately blade replacement.”
The armourEDGE shields are made from a material developed by INEOS Styrolution of very high heat resistance, stiffness and impact strength.
An operational offshore wind farm in northern Europe is currently installing armourEDGE.
Increase in energy production and revenue
Combating leading edge blade erosion on UK offshore wind farms could boost annual energy production by up to two percent, a study by the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult suggests.
This could increase revenue by as much as £3.5 million on a 500MW offshore wind farm.
Edge Solutions is working with a leading wind turbine maintenance provider to deliver certified technicians to roll out the programme.
Mr Urch says: “Over the last four years we have developed a product which is easy to install, maintains the blades’ aerodynamic properties and is extremely durable, with an estimated lifespan of over 20 years.
“The feedback from technicians is tremendous and we are keen to speak with wind farm operators to assist with their maintenance programmes scheduled for later this year and 2022.”