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LM Glasfiber launched the world’s largest blade measuring 61.5 metres, at the recent WindEnergy 2004 trade fair in Hamburg.
The composition of materials, a new design and new manufacturing processes, have enabled LM to reduce the weight to less than 18 tonnes. With a rotor diameter of 126 metres, the blade generates sufficient power from the wind to cover the annual power consumption of around 5,000 households.
“With this new design, we have again met our defined goal of constantly reducing the weight relative to the size of the new blades, thereby lowering the cost price per kilowatt hour produced”, says Anders Christensen, the CEO of LM Glasfiber.
The low weight is attributable to the use of LM Glasfiber’s FutureBlade technology, which has been further developed to combine fibreglass and carbon fibre in a new way.
The development of the SuperRoot, which is a new root concept that opens up for designing blades that are about 20% longer than previously, without increasing the diameter of the blade root. The end result is a blade and a hub that are both lighter and less expensive.
With a rotor diameter of 126 metres, the three blades cover an area almost the size of two football fields. From this area the blades are capable of capturing energy from the wind corresponding to a nominal effect of 5 MW.
The use of carbon fibre in the LM 61.5 P has also resulted in the further development of LM Glasfiber’s sophisticated lightning protection system. Through comprehensive testing and laboratory work, they have incorporated the carbon fibres in the lightning protection system so that part of the lightning power is conducted via these fibres. In this way, the electricity conducting carbon fibre does not represent a risk in terms of lightning strikes. LM Glasfiber has filed an application to patent this improvement of the lightning protection system.
The LM 61.5 P is equipped with LM Glasfiber’s new condition monitoring system, LM BladeMonitoring. By combining the latest technology within optic fibres, comprehensively tested software and hardware and LM Glasfiber’s blade design know-how, the LM BladeMonitoring system constantly monitors critical conditions such as load, temperature, damage and lightning strikes.
“On two consecutive occasions – first with the LM 54 P and now with the LM 61.5 P – we have set a new record for the blade size while at the same time substantially reducing the weight in order to keep the price low. Bearing witness to LM Glasfiber’s consistent and targeted activities in research, development and integral product innovation, this achievement is no coincidence”, says Anders Christensen. “Obviously, we aim to continue these efforts and retain the position they have given us”.
The new blade was designed for REpower Systems, which will erect the first wind turbine in northern Germany this year. Further orders are anticipated to be in the offshore market.
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