How can you develop wind turbine blades with a stabilizing structure that ensures they last longer and are capable of resisting more forces? That was the objective of Find Mølholt Jensen’s research at DTU Risø carried out for 10 years which led him to establish Bladena in 2011. Now, Bladena has just celebrated its 10-year anniversary on December 19th.
By Journalist, Berit Jarmin, Published December 20th, 2021
Ahead of their time
Bladena did not exactly find a goldmine at first with the D-String® not because of the product’s attributes – as it is successfully used globally today – but, because the industry needed convincing on why the wind turbine blades would become prone to structural failures as they grow in size and require structural reinforcement.
“When we marketed our D-String® the blades were still primarily produced in smaller sizes that does not require as much reinforcement as the larger ones,” says Find Mølholt Jensen, who wrote a PhD on structural wind turbine blade design prior to establishing Bladena.
“Our products and knowledge have materialized now because the forces are bigger on large blades. This has increased the need for repairs as the structural challenges are greater for large blades,” he explains.
Besides developing products, Bladena’s management and team realized a great need to bridge the gap between the scientific - know-how of blades - and the commercial part of the trade.
Therefore, Bladena continuously has extended its business scope and now offers expert advisory services and solutions for the entire value chain – wind turbine owners, operators, service companies, insurance companies, etcetera.
In addition, Bladena has led several EUDP projects aiming at developing commercial products that can lower the LCoE, and the company continuously hosts courses and workshops on structural failures and cost optimization for blades in operation.
“Through the years we have accumulated an extensive amount of blade data from the entire industry across the world. We use this insight when we for instance perform our Root Cause Analysis or Risk Evaluations which are required to get to the root cause of a blade problem and avoid even more expensive repairs in the future,” Find Mølholt Jensen says.
Into the core
One of the companies that have benefitted from working with Bladena through many years is ENEL, headquartered in Italy. Their Head of Global Wind Evolution Projects, Francisco García López has engaged Bladena to provide a maintenance strategy for their operations worldwide that has reduced their maintenance costs and the risk of the blades failing in the future.
“Bladena is the only company in the trade that looks into the very core of the problem when they analyse mistakes and risks in the blade construction. In my opinion, they are the ones with the greatest knowledge of blade failures in the world,” says Francisco García López and continues, “Besides their unique knowledge of blades they are great people to work with. They are honest and straightforward. If I ever was to hold a position where I would have ownership of erecting a wind farm, I would surely ask Bladena to design the blades,” he says.
A life-long mission
After 10 years in the business, Bladena now employs 20 people, and the small office in Ringsted has been replaced with a big office in Høje Taastrup, Copenhagen. The company depended on investors for the initial seven years but in the last three years Bladena has been growing independently.
“We have found our place in the market helping customers who demand e.g., Root Cause Analysis to find the real reasons for failures. Together we focus on long term solutions that minimize costs and risks consequently ensuring the lowest possible operating loss,” Find Mølholt Jensen says.
By extending the lifespan of the blades Bladena is on a mission to make energy from wind turbines more cost-effective and change the way blades are constructed in the future.
“Although a lot has happened in the business the past 10 years, our work to reduce LCoE through blade design still stands and have relevance. Bladena will continue to work for that in the coming years,” he finishes.
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