Leading Edge Advanced Protection using novel thermoplastic materials and processes for offshore Wind turbine blades.
The aim of LEAPWind is to produce a new commercial leading-edge blade component using advanced composite materials and innovative manufacturing processes.
This is will be achieved by the further development of the advanced composite material technologies of the LEAPWind consortium and its demonstration through the production of a novel leading-edge wind-blade component that prevents blade erosion. This component will initially be proven through structural and mechanical testing at NUI Galway, followed by operational trials at one of SUZLON’s wind energy sites.
The technology will see an advancement in technology readiness level from 6 to 9, during the LEAPWind project, as the technology is proven at full-scale within the operational environment.
LEAPWind aims to lower the levelized cost of wind energy by 10% by decreasing risk, increasing productivity and reducing maintenance costs by 20% (by eradicating the need for repair due to leading-edge erosion, which is currently necessary every 5 years), resulting in improved investor confidence and better access to capital.
LEAPWind has received €1 million funding through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the project duration is 24 months.
LEAPWind relies on a multidisciplinary consortium, consisting of an advanced material component manufacturer (ÉireComposites), a large-scale structural testing facility (NUI Galway) and a major wind energy developer with 17GW of operational turbines (SUZLON).
LEAPWind primary objectives:
- To develop a commercial-scale process for manufacturing ÉireComposites’s leading-edge wind-blade component
- To de-risk the technology by performing physical (structural and rain erosion) testing of a full-scale prototype leading-edge blade component
- To perform full-scale operational tests on an existing wind turbine in Portugal. Advanced sensory structural health monitoring techniques will be employed to accurately assess the performance of the novel leading-edge blade component and demonstrate an increase in TRL from 6 to 9.
- To introduce the novel leading-edge blade component to the offshore wind energy market in order to ensure its viability as a commercial product through interactions with SUZLON and other developers and market leaders.