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Lightning Protection for Wind Turbines

Arctura fig 1New Blade Coating Enhances Existing Lightning Protection Systems
Lightning damage stubbornly remains a major O&M expense for owner-operators in cost and frequency. Damage such as blade skin punctures, shell delamination, split trailing edges, and (less frequently) catastrophic damage to wind turbine blades is costly to repair and causes undesirable downtime. Even with the current mitigation systems in place, it is estimated that lightning damage costs the wind industry more than $ 100 million each year. Strikes are inevitable, and their frequency will only grow as turbines get taller, more onshore and offshore wind farms are developed, and our climate continues to change.
 
By Neal E. Fine, John A. Cooney and Christopher S. Szlatenyi, Arctura, Inc., USA

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Wind Turbines and Computational Fluid Dynamics

Vorcat Fig1aNovel Methodology for Turbulent Wind Flow Simulations
Wind turbine (WT) designers and wind farm developers are seeking improved tools for maximising power generation while minimising the life-cycle cost of their onshore and offshore projects. The industry recognises that key decisions required to achieve the lowest levelised cost of energy include wind farm: 1) site and WT model selection, 2) spacing or WT density, and 3) active control of each turbine’s operation considering blockage generated by interference of multiple turbulent wakes with the surroundings. Although the current consensus calls for spacing WTs at least seven rotor diameters apart, each WT design can have a different network effect that varies between sites having unique topography, wind patterns and other atmospheric conditions. As a consequence, designers with multiple site, hardware and network configuration options cannot rely on empirical rules of thumb to achieve optimal wind farms. Instead, design decisions should be guided by innovative computational fluid dynamics tools.
 
By Jacob Krispin and Joel Balbien, Vorcat, USA

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Future Super Large Rotor Blades

Windnovation fig 1Optimisation of Blade Connections
The increasing length of recent large rotor blades with their growing mass and static moments brings new challenges with regard to the design of their blade connections. Since 2008, WINDnovation has designed approximately 250 blades and blade connections with very different individual solutions.
 
By Frank Seewald, Torsten Sadowski, Roland Stoer, WINDnovation Engineering Solutions, Germany

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Moving Rotor Hubs

enercon 03A New Manufacturing Solution to Handle Rotor Hubs
Enercon is the first wind turbine manufacturer to break entirely new ground in handling rotor hubs on the assembly line – instead of using cranes and slings, Enercon relies on a compact turning table from RUD Ketten Rieger & Dietz, based in Aalen (Baden-Württemberg, Germany).
 
By Sabrina Deininger

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Wind Turbine Inspection with Drones

Aero Enterprise fig 1Fulfilling content resolution requirements
When discussing with potential partners about the visual inspection of wind turbines with drones, the first question that arises is which drone do you recommend? Inspecting wind turbines is not just about flying around the rotor blades and gathering high resolution pictures of everything. It is about image quality and supplementary metadata that improve the overall value of, and information about, an inspection flight, and processing and presenting the results in a manner that allows rotor blade experts to make precise decisions.
 
By Christian Raml, Head of Research and Development, Aero Enterprise, Austria

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A Critical Element for Wind Farm Profitability

Fischer Block Fig 1Offshore Wind Poised for Potential Boom
As the Biden administration prepares for unprecedented development in renewable generation, Asia-Pacific wind generation is hitting record level spend, and South Korea unveils seismic plans to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm, wind farm operators are positioning themselves to capitalise on this all-time high, gigawatt power generation fever.
 
By Gregory R. Wolfe, CEO / Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, Fischer Block, Inc., USA

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Consequences of Large Wind Farm Clustering

Naveed fig 1Impact of Wind Farms on Wind Speed and Capacity Factor
Offshore wind farms are getting more attention as a source of renewable energy due to high and consistent offshore winds. These reliable offshore winds favour the construction of large offshore wind farms despite their high installation and operational costs. However, the deployment of such large offshore wind farms in proximity to each other, as planned in the North Sea, can significantly affect power generation and increase economic losses of the downstream wind farms.
 
By Naveed Akhtar, Scientist, Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Germany

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