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Lifetime extension of blades

Lifetime extension of wind turbines is one of the key focus areas in the wind industry. Factors such as increasing costs, long permitting processes, aging turbine parks, and diminishing installation sites, are all lead to the necessity to extend the lifetime of already installed wind turbines.

Such lifetime extension can come in many forms. Choosing the right materials, carrying out thorough testing and validation, using a leading edge protection that is proven to last the turbine’s lifetime, or having a reliable lightning protection system. But as the turbine’s expected end of life is approaching, load monitoring can be a viable tool to continue operations.

Load capacity of blades

Every turbine blade is designed with a load carrying capacity (load envelope) projected over the operational lifetime. This load envelope determines the “maximum age” of every blade by design.

But the actual loads will be different for every turbine and site. Load monitoring allows owners and operators to record and see the actual loads that the blades have experienced during operations. And this can come in handy when they need to apply for a continued operating permit.

By comparing the actual load envelope with the designed one, they can prove that the blades have not yet reached their designed maximum age. As such, they can extend the blades’ lifetime without any additional investment.

Load monitoring - a range of applications

Lifetime extension is just one of the applications that load monitoring can be used for. It also enables individual pitch control, can increase the range of possible installation sites, and even reduce material costs by designing lighter blades.

Load monitoring is no longer a nice-to-have feature in modern wind turbines, but a necessity to reduce costs and extend lifetime. And these are crucial to support the acceleration of green transition.

Contact us to hear how you can extend the lifetime of your turbine blades using our lightning-resistant and maintenance-free load monitoring solution.