Our Helicoid™ leading-edge protection solution is being developed, prototyped, and testing as part of a collaboration which includes the University of Irvine, Cal Tech University, New Energy Nexus and the California Energy Commission.
Leading-edge erosion from rain, hail, sand, salt and bird strikes are one of the largest issues facing the wind turbine blade industry. This requires significant maintenance and personnel costs, equipment down-time, reduced energy output, and a large amount of waste from damaged and discarded blades.
Based on analysis conducted at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois (Sareen, Sapre & Selig), it has been estimated that a relatively small degree of leading-edge erosion can cause an 80% increase in drag which results in a 5% loss in annual energy production. For many of the moderate-to-heavy erosion cases, this loss in annual energy production could be as high as 25%.
By utilizing a lighter, stronger, more impact resistant leading-edge technology that is easily installed during the initial production or maintenance of a blade will decrease overall costs, reduce repair downtime, and increase overall power output.
The Helicoid™ leading-edge protection solution provides tougher blades with higher resistance to impact, erosion and fatigue while maintaining strength and stiffness over the decades of service required. The Helicoid™ leading-edge protection solution is compatible with existing materials and manufacturing processes.