Wind blades and towers are often subjected to corrosive and erosive environments caused by their placement as well as harsh conditions onshore and offshore. These damages can affect the overall efficiency of wind turbines and result in reduced efficiency of the overall setup. 

According to the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, an application of functional coatings with riblet structure, that has been previously used in the aeronautics sector, can potentially protect the surface of the rotor blades, and significantly improve the drag to lift ratio.

Horizon 2020 initiative has received funding from the European Union to undertake a project called ‘Riblet4Wind’. The main goal of the project is to analyze and research together with the industry players, the effect of riblets on large wind turbines.

Eltronic Wind Solutions is a part of the ‘Riblet4Wind’ project and is responsible for developing an Eltronic mobile robot which can apply functional coatings with riblet structure onto new and existing rotor blades. This surface treatment can improve wind turbine efficiency by up to 6%. This direct effect will allow gaining the same amount of electrical energy with smaller rotor blades.

  Allows operation at less optimum wind conditions

The improved drag to lift ratio will allow operation at lower wind speeds. The earlier cut-in of the  WTG will improve the facility to balance in the electrical grid system.

 Reveals new design options

The improved drag to lift ratio will reveal design options due to changes of the design loads.

 

  Improved stall and turbulence behavior

The riblet structure improves the stall and turbulence behavior of the rotor blades thus allowing also operation during changing wind directions or gusts.

  Supports retrofitting projects 

Can be applied to new and existing blades, thus supporting retrofitting of older wind turbines.

Alternative Solutions 

The surface coating application from Eltronic Wind Solutions is built on an advanced mobile robot which can be used in many other areas of blade production and surface treatment. With only a few adjustments, the unit can be used for processes like sanding, scanning, cleaning, painting or adding leading edge protection (fx. rubber cutting edge)