Danish company behind long-awaited technology for wind turbines
The company behind long-awaited technology for wind turbines
18 January, 2017
As wind turbine blades get bigger, they are increasingly being worn down by weather and by the airborne particles they encounter as they spin at up to 350 km/hour. Producers and owners of wind turbines have been looking for a solution.
After three years of development work, the Danish company PolyTech A/S has launched a new technology - Leading Edge Protection (LEP) - that addresses the wind turbine industry’s need to protect blades against rain and particle erosion. The product has been tested on offshore wind turbines in the North Sea area for more than a year, and test results are very promising.
“The need to protect wind turbine blades against rain and other impact effects has been known in the industry for decades. It has escalated as wind turbines have gotten bigger and we’ve collected operational experience that has documented the extent of the problem. Since the wind turbine industry is our largest customer group, Polytech has used our knowledge of materials and production practices and put a large amount of our development resources into finding a solution. With our LEP technology we’ve developed polymers with special qualities that can withstand the aggressive environment that wind turbines placed off shore and most on shore environments are exposed to,” says CEO Mads Kirkegaard of PolyTech A/S.
One of the largest development projects in the company’s history
PolyTech is based in Denmark. The company is an increasingly development-based, with its own production facilities in Denmark and China as well as a newly established company in the USA. In its development phase, the LEP project involved about 10 engineers and other technicians, and is one of the largest single development projects in the company’s history.
“Both large and small companies have tried to come up with solutions for the ongoing wear and tear on wind turbine blades. Many wind turbine operators have surface-treated blades every other year or every third year in order to delay degradation, which is expensive, particularly for offshore wind turbines. It’s now up to us to convince both producers and owners that we have developed systems and materials that are durable and resistant to climate conditions, so they can save money and reduce wind turbines’ downtime,” says Kirkegaard.
Production will increase with demand
PolyTech has begun production of LEP products and will increase volume in step with the number of blade types introduced with LEP. At the beginning of 2017, about 300 wind turbines in Denmark and around the world are operating with LEP from PolyTech A/S. The technology is seen as a milestone for the wind turbine industry, and the potential is very large.