The wind power industry is constantly evolving
The use of renewable resources is an innovative and sustainable way to generate energy. In comparison to fossil fuel resources, the process of generating energy from renewable resources is much more beneficial for the environment. In particular, wind power has been an increasingly growing form of renewable energy, with the global capacity growing year upon year. With this growth of using wind power as an energy source, comes the necessity to maintain the wind turbines themselves. Therefore, the importance of a high-quality and easy-to-apply leading edge protection (LEP) coating has never been more important to keep up with the demand from this blossoming industry.
Protecting the leading edges of turbines is essential
External agents such as intense sunlight, rain, snow, hail, dust and dirt can cause severe damage to wind turbines – particularly on the leading edge of the turbine blade. Erosion and impact damage of the leading edge can lead to the creation of uneven surfaces on the blades, which can decrease the blades’ performance and efficiency, and as a result, reduce the wind turbines energy output in the long run.
As already highlighted in a previous post, “Maintaining Renewable Energy Progress”, damage to the leading edges of a turbine blade can lower the annual energy production, with energy losses that range between 4% to 20% when the damage is acute. Protecting the leading edge is therefore essential to ensure the aerodynamic efficiency and energy output.
There are several existing solutions such as elastomeric tapes and gel coatings, however these methods are often difficult to apply in-situ, are sensitive to environmental factors and require multiple coats. In a previous post, “5 Reasons for Protecting the Leading Edge with Belzona”, we discussed traditional and alternative leading-edge repair methods, and the implications involved.
The best solution for LEP: Belzona 5721
Belzona has recently formulated a new system specifically formulated for LEP. Belzona 5721 is a two-component coating, ideally suited for in-field applications due to its fast 30 minutes cure time and ability to be brush-applied in a single coat. The system also offers excellent adhesion to Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) and protection from UV degradation.
A recent successful application
Belzona 5721 was recently applied at a UK wind power station, in Yorkshire to repair and protect damaged leading edges of a wind turbine. The blades were previously protected with tapes; however, they had begun to peel off and an eroded area was present through the protective tape.
In order to apply the repair composite, the blades were, in this case removed from the turbine and positioned on the ground. The existing tape was completely peeled off and the surface was sanded down and cleaned of any debris or contaminants. Belzona 5721 was then mixed and brush-applied to a band of 20cm (7.9in). The coating was then left to cure, completing the simple application.
Although this application was applied on the ground major benefit of the product application is that it can be performed directly on the leading-edge, without removing the blades from the turbine.
Having used other Belzona solutions previously for other areas of the wind turbine maintenance, the operator has continued to be impressed by the durability and high-quality performance offered. This application was a quick and simple process, meaning downtime was kept to a minimum, allowing the blades to be put back into service soon after the application.
In addition to Belzona 5721, Belzona offers a number of solutions from base to blade.