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CENER PRESENTS AT 2013 AWEA WINDPOWER ITS LATEST R+D ADVANCES ON WIND TURBINE BLADES AND CONTROL

At the fair presents a new family of airfoils that will allow the maximising of the aerodynamic efficiency of the blades, increasing their capacity for energy capture, which represents a relative reduction of weights and loads.

Two of CENER’s studies relating to the increasing of the machine’s efficiency by improving the design and the manufacture of blades and reducing the cost of wind generation will be presented at the Congress.

From yesterday, Sunday 5th May, the annual meeting held by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) under the name of 2013 AWEA-WindPower has started in Chicago (USA). This event is one of the sector’s most important at a global level; in it an exhibition area is complemented by a congress of technical lectures. CENER plans to take part in both events. On the one hand it will show the visiting public on a stand (which is part of that organised by the Regional Government of Navarra) a new family of advanced airfoils for wind turbine blades, and it will also present two interesting research projects at the Congress.

The importance of an aerodynamic design in aeroplanes or race cars, for example, is well-known, and why not in wind turbines too. For a given rotor configuration, the blade shape will determine the capacity to extract wind energy, which can then be transformed into electric power.

Airfoils are the cross sectional shapes along the blade that divert the airflow, generating the aerodynamic effects required to force the rotor to rotate. Therefore, they are the key design feature that underpins the development of efficient multi-megawatt wind turbines.

CENER has performed intensive research work over the last few years to create an advanced aerodynamic airfoil family, especially designed for large wind turbines. These airfoils can maximise the aerodynamic efficiency of the blades, resulting in an increase of their power capture capacity and a relative reduction of weights and loads. In short, they represent a product innovation that can lead to an increase in production and a reduction in the global cost of wind energy, thus considerably improving its competitiveness.

The important novelty presented by CENER with its new family of airfoils lies mainly in that it achieves smart optimisations of the aerodynamic features, thus obtaining exceptional performance in wind turbine blade applications. Noteworthy is the good operation stability, with high efficiency, lower sensitivity to deposited dirt and wear, and shorter cords that allow for narrower and lighter blades.

The design has been validated by combining advanced simulation tools and tests in wind tunnels.

Details about this new project and others that CENER is currently involved in will be made known during the 2013 Windpower Fair at its stand situated in Booth 2041 (Exhibit Hall A, South Building).

A Congress will be held parallel to the fair with a full programme of technical lectures. In this edition of 2013 Windpower two research proposals developed by the wind energy department of the National Renewable Energy Centre ( Centro Nacional de Energías Renovables , CENER) have been selected for presentation.

One of the projects is entitled: “Advanced technologies in the design and manufacture of new wind turbine blades” and will be presented on Monday 6th May as part of the R+D+I section on wind turbine components (scientific session). The co-authors are: Javier Estarriaga, Roberto Montejo, Marcos Del Río, Mercedes Sanz, Ana Belén Fariñas, Iñaki Nuin, and Carlos Amézqueta who will make the presentation.

The presentation will describe the innovative technologies developed within the framework of the Newind project, which is being developed by a consortium of companies, universities, and technological centres in which CENER has played an active part. These technologies improve efficiency in the generation of wind energy and have been implemented in the design, manufacture, and testing of a demonstration blade 13.4 m long.

Likewise CENER has executed a preliminary design for a blade measuring 41.8 m that includes several of the technologies developed.

To be precise, the details of the following technologies developed will be explained:

  • The structural lightening of blades by using carbon nano fibres (GANF: Grupo Antolin Nano Fibras)
  • The improvement of aerodynamic efficiency thanks to the design of a winglet (on the tip of the blade) and the use of ice-proof casing and anti atmospheric agents.
  • World pioneering manufacture of a blade 13.4 m long by means of the RTM-light technique in 1 shot.
  • Monitoring the blade with embedded Bragg fibres (optic fibre) for use in control of the turbine (individual pitch control) and in structural integrity techniques (Structural Health Monitoring Techniques, SHM).

The other project will be presented by Mikel Iribas and is entitled: “On the viability and the extreme load reduction limits for wind turbines through advance sensors: the stopping procedure” and will be part of the session of the same day (Monday 6th May) on wind turbine structures, dynamics, loads, and control. The other authors of the work are Iker Elorza and Edurne Miranda.

The research carried out by CENER includes the analysis of the reduction in the cost of wind energy by improving control of the wind turbine. A good controller, the equivalent of the wind turbine’s brain, can help to reduce drastically the mechanical loads that the machine must withstand. The study concentrates on the reduction of the extreme loads withstood by the components by the smart use of sensors that have normally already been installed in large wind turbines. In the same way the theoretical limits that can be achieved by this method will be presented.

In this way the study distinguishes between the situations that the components measure in which the controller is inactive (transport, maintenance, idling, etc.) compared with those in which the controller is active and plays a decisive role, with the mechanical loads of the first group being the objective to attain. As an example, the case will be expounded of a wind turbine in which extreme loads are reduced by as much as 67%. At the same time, for various components load levels lower than for situations in which the controller is not active will be achieved, reaching therefore the maximum possible load reduction level in these situations.

CENER is taking part in AWEA-Windpower for the fourth consecutive year. For more information on the fair and the programme of lectures: www.windpowerexpo.org

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