LM Glasfiber Invests DKK 25 Million in New Wind Tunnel

18 June 2006

At LM Glasfiber in Lunderskov, Helge Sander, the Danish Minister of Science, has inaugurated the world’s first wind tunnel custom-designed for research and testing of the aerodynamic properties of rotor blades.

During the past 20 years, we have managed to double the capacity of wind turbines about every four years. As a result, the price of wind power has been reduced by approximately 80% during the same period. This development is best illustrated by LM Glasfiber’s largest rotor blade, which is also the world’s largest at 61.5 metres. A wind turbine with three of these blades is able to generate power sufficient to cover the annual consumption of 5,000 households. Ten years ago, four of the most advanced turbines at the time were required to cover the same power consumption.

The challenge lies in the fact that wind technology has reached such an advanced stage that decisive new knowledge is required if we are to continue to achieve similar efficiency improvements. This is the kind of knowledge the new wind tunnel is to provide. The wind tunnel will give LM Glasfiber’s team of aerodynamic scientists and engineers a world-exclusive opportunity to conduct tests, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to develop the optimum aerodynamic blade design. This design consistently balances on a compromise in which the objective is to extract as much power from the wind as possible while at the same time minimising the load on the wind turbine. The optimum solution cannot be based on theory alone. It must be tested under conditions identical to those in the real world. This is the kind of tests performed in the new wind tunnel, and its design will allow LM Glasfiber to recreate the operating conditions of the rotor blades with a higher degree of precision than previously.

”In fact, efficiency is now so high that we have started to operate with margins when we speak of efficiency,” says Frank V. Nielsen, LM Glasfiber’s R&D Director. ”But the margins are very important. If our blade design can help boost the annual power production by a mere 2% during its 20-year lifetime, it will generate so much more power that, in financial terms, it will offset the financing cost of the wind turbine. We are confident that our new wind tunnel can contribute with the know-how required for us to achieve this higher efficiency.”

”It is paramount that the industry as well as the public sector make research and development investments to reduce our reliance on coal, gas and oil to the greatest extent possible, providing us with a sustainable source of energy that also offers socio-economic benefits,” says Ronald Sundén, CEO of LM Glasfiber. ”Inexpensive and clean energy is not a utopia. Therefore, it is important that we make investments in alternative forms of energy that are as effective as possible. We hope that we at LM Glasfiber will help to lead the way forward in this process.”

""When LM Glasfiber invests in infrastructure for research, naturally this provides access to new knowledge, but it also makes it easier to attract highly qualified professionals, and it will strengthen the collaboration with the scientists at Risø and other research institutions. Consequently, the company's new wind tunnel is an excellent starting point for the strong research and innovation collaboration, which is the government's strategy for securing Danish workplaces, earnings, and welfare,"" says Helge Sander, Minister for Science, Technology, and Innovation.

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