LM Glasfiber will commence construction of the world’s first wind tunnel dedicated to the testing of its composite rotor blades.
The wind tunnel will be custom-made to recreate the complex aerodynamic conditions in which rotor blades operate and represents an investment of approx. EUR 3.4 million. Built adjacent to LM Glasfiber’s test facilities in Denmark, the wind tunnel is scheduled to be completed by mid-2006, which also allows for preparatory testing and calibration to be completed.
The new wind tunnel will give the scientists at LM Glasfiber an opportunity to demonstrate their research results and enhance the output capacity of the blades. LM Glassfiber have already put in place an established research team of 15 people, comprising some of the leading technical aerodynamicists in Europe.
Frequent wind tunnel tests will strengthen LM Glasfiber’s core competency in rotor blade aerodynamics, and allow the company to optimise the impact of the blades on the rest of the wind turbine components.
Speaking to LM Glassfiber earlier, it appears that the main issues concerning the testing of blades is to understand more fully the load bearings and aerodynamics of the blades in the hope of producing larger, load optimised and more aerodynamic-efficient blades that generate even more power. Testing will also provide details on new aerodynamic features which can be added to the surface of the blades, furthering improve lift and power.
It is hoped that the results will facilitate a greater understanding of current blade models, but also lead to the development of new, more efficient blades.
“”All wind turbine components are becoming increasingly advanced and optimised. This reduces the margins if you really wish to lower the price of wind power. Our goal is to actively contribute to lowering the price per kWh of wind power produced, and the most direct impact on the price of wind power is achieved by increasing the power output. As a result, we have set up a research team in the field of applied aerodynamics. Working with the new wind tunnel as a central tool, the industry’s top competencies in this field will allow us to target our blade development efforts to an even greater extent””, says Frank V. Nielsen, LM Glasfiber’s R&D Director.
The new wind tunnel will allow testing of larger subjects than the wind tunnels currently used for testing rotor blades. Furthermore, wind speeds of 105 m/s or approximately 375 km/h and a custom-designed test chamber will allow for ultra-high quality aerodynamic tests under realistic wind flow conditions for full-scale rotor blades.
The aerodynamic improvements provided by the wind tunnel are expected to be implemented in products developed in collaboration with customers already from 2007.
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