The EWIC project will demonstrate how the value of end of warranty inspections can be enhanced – with the overall objective to reduce LCoE and extend the operational lifetime of the blades.
Currently, there are no official statistics of structural damages on the blades and especially not for newer turbines where the failure rate is significant higher than for small turbines. However, the area is of high importance to the wind turbine owners and a well-known fact. Still most of inspections are performed on the outside of the blade, which only shows the “top of the iceberg”. Inspecting inside the blade, in the areas that are critical, will show the small part underneath the “iceberg”, and if NDT are used, a higher picture of the damages will be shown. Often, the results of inadequate inspection are formation of structural damages, that in worst case leads to blade failure or total turbine failure. Visualization by Kirt x Thomsen
Vattenfall, E.ON, HOFOR together with The Blade Group Network – consisting of more than 30 wind turbine owners – have strongly encouraged that new concepts for the inspection of turbine blades at the end of warranty need to be developed. Their wish is to profoundly incorporate results of the latest research activities and extensive field experience in this work.
The wind turbine owners have teamed up with OffshoreEnergy.dk, Bladena, Total Wind BLAEST, Kirt-Thomsen and FORCE Technology to achieve this objective – optimize the quality of the blade inspection method and develop a common understanding/standard for how this work should be done in the future.
Anders Søe-Jensen, CEO at Bladena and former CEO of GE Offshore and Vestas Offshore, says:
“As a standard, blades have for many years been inspected from the outside without any internal inspections. We know today, that even if the blade surface looks intact there may be serious issues to be found on the inside of the blades and even inside the panel structures. Therefore, the implementation of new inspection methods is to extend the lifetime by reducing maintenance costs and minimizing the future down-time.”
Hence, the EWIC project partners have agreed to thoroughly investigate options for inspections of the blades from the inside and inside the material.
The project will define the details of how inside visual inspections should be carried out. The deployment of small size cameras and NDT in critical areas will be explored.
Visual inspection and NDT techniques will be combined with knowledge about theoretical failure modes, failure modes found in the laboratory tests and with data from blades damaged in the field. This will allow the definition of an optimal strategy for the use of NDT methods such as thermography and ultrasound in selected areas.
Bergen Group AAK and Bladena ApS have established a cooperation agreement on future assignments towards the wind power market. The goal is to strengthen competitiveness and market position towards an increasing market for maintenance and lifetime extension of wind park installations. The agreement also opens for cooperation on deliveries to new installations, both onshore and offshore.
Torgeir Nærø, CEO in Bergen Group ASA and MD in the subsidiary Bergen Group AAK, describes the cooperation agreement as an important operational and strategic measure to strengthen the company's position towards the wind power industry.
"In recent years, we have established a strong foothold in the wind power segment through various service and framework agreements with both national and international companies. By establishing this cooperation agreement with internationally acknowledged Bladena ApS in Denmark, we further strengthen our focus on this market "says Torgeir Nærø.
The CEO points out that Bergen Group AAK has long experience in performing various types of service and maintenance operations under conditions with demanding access. Bladena ApS, in turn, has a strong position as a supplier of dynamic analyzes associated with loads and compensating measures for turbine blades. Compensating measures include mechanical components that correct, amplify and prolong the operational timeline. The field proven solutions increase the power output per turbine.
"We see an increasing demand for improved performance on wind power installations with exposed turbines and unnecessarily high loads. At the same time, we experience an increase in the demand for our services towards the market for lifetime extension of wind turbine blades. The collaboration with Bladena ApS gives both parties a strengthened competitiveness in this market”, Nærø states.
Bladena ApS is headquartered in Roskilde, Denmark, and is an established product and service provider for turbine blades for the European and American wind power markets. Bladena's technology platform originates from more than 10 years of research and development work at DTU-Risø in Denmark. Amongst others, this work formed the basis for 7 patents, which was taken over by Bladena, when it was launched as a spin-out from DTU in 2011. For more information, visit www.bladena.com
Bergen Group AAK is a fully owned subsidiary of Bergen Group ASA. The company is experts on access techniques utilized for maintenance, modifications and operations, typically for work at height or areas with complicated access. Bergen Group AAK operate in various markets, including service on oil and gas up- and downstream facilities, on- and offshore wind parks, bridges and tunnels for road and rail, hydropower stations and other infrastructure. The company is headquartered at Sotra outside Bergen, and has approx. 60 employees.
More information is found at www.bladena.com or www.bergengroup.no
Ryan Lauridsen, Chief Sales Officer in Bladena ApS, phone +45 20 14 59 96
Torgeir Nærø, CEO of Bergen Group ASA and MD in Bergen Group AAK; phone +47 922 00 778