Flexible rotor blades continue to run even during gusts of wind
There are over 30,000 wind turbines in Germany. And the bigger the rotor blades, the harder it is for the technology to react to changing wind speeds.1 Apr 2018 Tim Stockschläger
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) already presented the first results of the SmartBlades project at the Hannover Messe 2016 trade fair. The collaborative research project is now entering the second round: in the SmartBlades2 project, researchers are cooperating with industrial partners to develop a bending-torsion coupling (BTK) for rotor blades of large wind turbines. The passive coupling can adapt to the rapidly changing wind speeds and the tremendous forces they generate. The wind turbine can thus optimally exploit its potential, and wear is reduced to a minimum. Rotor blades react relatively slowly in their widespread form to date. However, in the case of rotor blades that are 85 m long, the forces at a height of 200 meters can fluctuate between top and bottom even during a single turn. Conventional wind turbines up until now have thus had to be shut down when faced with strong gusts of wind.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems (IWES) and DLR are cooperating on the SmartBlades2 project with private industrial partners (including Henkel and SSB Wind Systems ) and other research institutes such as the ForWind Center for Wind Energy Research at the Universities of Oldenburg, Hanover and Bremen. The new rotor blades are currently being tested on the grounds of the Fraunhofer IWES in Bremerhaven. However, rather than producing the blades themselves, the institute plans to pass on its findings to domestic industry. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is funding the project with 15.4 million euros.
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