LM Glasfiber: New research project to explore intelligent blades

LM Glasfiber, the world’s leading independent manufacturer of blades for wind power turbines, enters into a new three-year research project supported by the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation to develop laser-based wind sensory systems as an integrated part of future wind turbines.

The project, which is a joint venture with Risø DTU and NKT Photonics, aims to significantly improve the load control of the wind energy turbine in operation thus enhancing the efficiency of the turbine and improving its overall reliability.

“LM Glasfiber is working on several projects to improve the efficiency of the blades and consequently the overall energy production from the wind turbine. An important part of this is developing ‘intelligent’ blades that measure the wind and either adapt to the current wind conditions or supply data to the wind turbine control system,” says Lars Fuglsang, LM Glasfiber Research Director.

Integrating so called LIDARs* into the blade will be an extension of LM Glasfiber’s previous blade monitoring technology and the potential for improved yield is impressive. It is expected that the energy production may be increased by up to 5% over the wind turbine’s 20-year life time.

“Whereas current blade monitoring technologies measure the loads on the blades, integrating LIDARs into the blade enables us to measure the exact wind conditions to which the blades are exposed. So basically, this means that instead of looking in the rearview mirror and realizing what the blade has been exposed to, we will be able to measure the wind real-time and either have the blade or the wind turbine react on this right away.”

It is expected that a prototype of the new application of the LIDAR technology in wind turbines will be available in 2012. LM Glasfiber expects to be able to supply its customers with LIDAR-enabled intelligent blades by 2014.