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3M targets blade efficiency

Partnering with Altitec to install wind vortex generators to turbines

3M targets blade efficiency image

Blade repair and inspection specialist Altitec is partnering with 3M’s renewable energy division to install 3M wind vortex generators to turbine blades.

The generators address aerodynamic issues common to most turbine blades and help increase annual energy production by between 2% and 3%, Altitec said.

It said rotor blades typically twist no more than 10 to 20 degrees from root to tip, and while chord length – the width of the blade at a given distance along its length – can vary, these factors prevent wind turbines from achieving optimal aerodynamic performance.

“This can often lead to undesired airflow separation – known as aerodynamic stall – and has a significant impact on wind turbine efficiency, as well as generating additional noise,” it said.

In response, 3M in partnership with Smartblade has developed the wind vortex generator, which can be attached to a rotor blade and enhance performance by guiding wind flow around its surface.

The generators can also be adapted to fit most blade types, regardless of a turbine’s manufacturer, Altitec said.

Image: Morgue File

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