Maximizing efficiency of wind turbines is a vital consideration for operators, and managing erosion is a vital method to achieve this. Studies have consistently shown that erosion can lead to a loss in annual energy production (AEP) of up to 20% on severe cases. This figure is hard to ignore, and highlights the ROI benefits that can be achieved from paying close attention to erosion. The heart of the issue is the fact that wind blades come into contact with various elements in the air at rotation speeds up to 250 mph, leading to erosion in the form of pitting, gouging and delamination of the edge of the blade. This erosion not only compromises the integrity of the blade, but also impacts its aerodynamic efficiency, causing a significant loss in AEP. This loss can be compounded by the downtime necessary to make repairs to turbines, so owners have important motivations for protecting blades against erosion and making repairs quickly. In severe cases of erosion can even lead up to blade replacement which can get very expensive.
3M™ Wind Energy has extensive experience managing erosion, understanding the causes and effects of leading edge erosion, and bringing education to the industry on this problem. We have had decades of experience in understanding erosions and how to effectively prevent this.