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These airfoils help maximise the aerodynamic efficiency of the blades, increasing their energy capture capacity, which represents a relative reduction of weights and loads.

Two of CENER’s studies relating to the design and analysis of wind turbines will be presented at the Congress.

(Sarriguren, 1 February 2013).- Next week, the European Wind Energy Association will hold its annual meeting in Vienna from the 4 th to the 7 th of February. This event is one of the sector’s most important at a global level. Taking advantage of this event CENER will publically launch a new family of advanced airfoils for wind turbine blades.

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 determines the capacity to extract wind energy, which can then be transformed into electrical 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 wind gains and a reduction of its global cost, 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 achieving an 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 EWEA 2013 Fair at its stand located in the area, A-J44.

As usual, and parallel to be fair, there will be a conference programme. Two works have been selected for presentation at this year’s 2013 EWEA, which will be presented by technicians from CENER’s Wind Turbine Analysis and Design service (Wind Dept).

More specifically, Alvaro Gonzalez will give the presentation entitled “Aeroelastic tools for 2D airfoils with variable geometry for application in wind turbines”, and Roberto Montejo will present the “Design and validation of an innovative joint system for modular blades” within the “Science and Research” and “Hardware Technologies” sections, respectively.

The co-authors of the first presentation are Xabier Munduate (CENER), Rafael Palacios and J. Michael R. Graham, (both from Imperial College London). The article deals with the development of aeroelastic tools for non-stationary modelling of 2D airfoils, including variable geometries. This work has resulted in the development of a new code, called AdaptFoil2D, based on panel methods. The result of the validation performed has been very satisfactory, and the code has proven that the program works well both with respect to accuracy of results and to computational cost.

AdaptFoil2D is currently ready to be included in the wind turbine blade design process, including sections with variable geometry for distributed control (flaps, profile curvature changes, etc.).

The presentation that Roberto Montejo will give is also the work of Ernesto Saenz, Iñaki Nuin and Antonio Ugarte (all of them CENER technicians), and of Javier Sanz from INDEOL. The new joint system, called INdeModular®, has been developed and validated to join modular blades. The system is mechanical and is located in the reinforcement beam of the shells. The system is innovative as, thanks to its geometry, it permits the inclusion of a larger number of screws than traditional joints, and as it is comprised of unitary cells, it incorporates the modular concept, so it can easily be integrated into the design and manufacture of blades with different internal architecture and mechanical stress.

Each cell includes the following main elements: four inserts and screws, and an intermediate element. The implementation of the joint system in a monolithic blade represents less than a 10% increase in cost and weight. The design of INdeModular® is based on analytical methods and finite elements. The system was mechanically tested at real scale (static and fatigue tests), following the procedures established by the certification body, Germanischer Lloyd (standard GL-2010), with highly satisfactory results. Staff from GL assessed, reviewed and verified all the procedures followed, including calculation and test procedures.

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