WINDTRUST aims to lower the cost of wind energy by increasing the reliability of turbines. It focuses on three key components with high improvement potential: rotor blades, power electronics and the wind turbine controller. “The increased reliability of turbines, and the reduced cost of energy that follows, is key to building public and investor confidence in wind energy” explained Matthijs Soede, of the European Commission, during the event.
Representatives from LM Wind Power, one of WINDTRUST’s industrial partners, presented their innovative blade edge protector ‘Problade’. Blades currently suffer badly from erosion, but this brush-on coating makes the rotor blades five times more durable compared with previous techniques, thereby extending life times and reducing maintenance costs. German firm Semikron are working to optimise the power electronics in the turbine energy converter. They presented a new design, which by reducing the number of components, and the overall size of the unit, has improved the lifetime, reliability and serviceability of the converter. The angle at which the turbine faces the wind, and the alignment of the blades, are crucial to the production of energy. WINDTRUST partners are also working to enhance turbine control, and presented their research into algorithms to optimise the balance between energy production and machine life.
As the project enters its third and final year, the event was an opportunity to showcase the promising technologies to industry stakeholders. Final testing and validation will take place over the coming months, with the designs being incorporated onto a 2MW onshore turbine at a facility in Spain.