GE Wind recently announced that it purchased U.K. blade manufacturer Blade Dynamics. Demand for wind turbine blades exceeding 55m continues to increase and has driven segmented blade technology from a niche application to a commercial necessity. BD is the innovator behind a potentially disruptive modular blade concept that aims to reduce blade weight and increase reliability.
The company’s engineering staff has patented a range of innovations for wind-turbine rotors. For example, GL has certified one BD blade as the lightest 49m blade in the world. The company says it is working on what could be the largest offshore turbine blades in the world.
Blade Dynamics says it has created is the most advanced blade platform available. Its high performance, reliability and cost-effectiveness enables the next generation of turbines for low wind areas, large transportable blades onshore, and ultra-large offshore turbines. Traditionally, cost-effectiveness, reliability and performance were mutually exclusive but the company says its innovation have brought all three together.
The company’s leading edge protection for wind turbines blades is a critical technology area with a significant bearing on the cost of energy, especially offshore, where maintenance costs are high. It has been accepted in the past that blades are a wear component that will require replenished leading edge protection repeatedly during its operational life. However, BladeShield, the company’s leading edge protection is molded into the blade and therefore aerodynamically accurate to the designed airfoil.
The polymer protection membrane has been proven to have more than 500% longer protective life than polyurethane tapes in side by side testing of resistance to rain erosion after accelerated ultraviolet light exposure and salt water saturation. In addition, the “clean” molded airfoil profile eliminates the up-front AEP loss of applying leading edge protections.