Awareness is growing in the wind industry about the severe impact that blade leading edge erosion can have on wind turbine output. Recent research shows that erosion can lead to a loss in annual energy production (AEP) of up to 20 percent, costing thousands of dollars.

Leading Edge Erosion on Wind Turbines

Contributed by | 3M Wind Energy

How is 3M involved in Renewable Energy, specifically Wind Energy?

From design and manufacturing through day-to-day operations, 3M offers you a wide array of innovative technology solutions – designed to improve reliability, enhance performance and reduce your costs.

What is leading edge erosion and what causes it?

Rotating up to 200 mph, wind blades are faced with erosion caused by rain, hail, salt spray and other debris. As a result, many blades will suffer pitting, gouging and delamination.

What impact can leading edge erosion have on the turbine?

Leading edge erosion can cause costly repair downtime. Poor blade performance can also reduce annual energy production and even impact the integrity of the entire blade.

Can leading edge erosion really impact wind turbine output?

Yes. Awareness is growing in the wind industry about the severe impact that blade leading edge erosion can have on wind turbine output. Recent research shows that erosion can lead to a loss in annual energy production (AEP) of up to 20 percent, costing thousands of dollars. Blade repair and protection can therefore provide significant AEP improvements, and can also reduce downtime and costs.

What can be done to repair and/or prevent leading edge erosion?

Leading edge erosion is becoming a serious problem in the wind industry. 3M offers an array of products to both repair and prevent damage caused by minor impacts and erosion. These advanced 3M materials are designed to enhance reliability, improve performance and extend the life of your valuable equipment.

3M™ Wind Blade Protection Coating W4600 is a two component polyurethane coating that provides excellent erosion protection in a single layer. Suitable for application via brush or casting, the coating provides fast curing and ease of application.

3M™ Wind Protection Tapes are constructed from tough, abrasion-resistant polyurethane elastomers and are designed to resist erosion and weathering. They are easily applied and conform to complex shapes to best protect your blade.

3M also offers a variety of polyurethane and epoxy fillers for erosion repair.

How and where are these leading edge solutions applied?

3M™ Wind Protection Tape and Coatings can be applied during manufacturing at the factory or in the field via rope or platform access.

Are there other areas in the renewable energy industry where 3M is involved or planning involvement in the near future?

For more than a decade, 3M has been a trusted supplier of advanced materials for the solar industry. Our broad range of products and technologies is designed to enhance performance, improve reliability and drive down the critical cost per watt. As one of the world’s leading suppliers of advanced films, tapes, coatings and adhesives, we have the ability to supply products and provide technical support around the world.

 


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