The facility operated by Ceder, Spain’s Centre for the Development of Renewable Energy Sources (which reports to Ciemat, the Research Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology), will be used for testing small wind turbine blades. The performance of these blades will be monitored and analysed at Ceder-Ciemat to optimise industrial designs.
The importance of the facility (which is located in Lubia in the province of Soria) is that it is “designed specifically for small wind turbine blades, since it cannot be applied at the same scale as used for conventional wind turbine blades”. According to Ceder, this test bench “is the only laboratory specifically adapted for wind turbines of up to 100 kW, capable of characterising blades to optimise manufacturers’ designs and validate them under current regulations”.
The blades are the most important parts of a wind turbine as they are responsible for capturing wind energy and turning it into rotary motion. As they are high-tech components, they are also critical in terms of cost, design, manufacturing and reliability, and therefore require significant testing, Ciemat explains. Test benches are used to reproduce the most severe loads a blade may experience over its useful life on the one hand, and to simulate the accelerated accumulation of damage or wear and tear on the materials used in the blade on the other.
In parallel, additional tests are performed to provide other complementary information. According to a recent Ciemat press release, worldwide, the number of blade testing facilities are scarce and often have a high workload due to the high number of hours (usually several months) required to analyse a single blade model. [Inset: a wind turbine manufactured by Bornay, a leader in small wind in Spain].
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