Edge Solutions secures £700,000 funding to transform maintenance of wind farms
Scottish technology firm Edge Solutions has secured £700,000 investment to roll out its innovative armourEDGE product – developed in collaboration with INEOS Styrolution – which they believe will transform the maintenance of operational wind farms.
The Dundee-based firm has developed an ultra-tough and aerodynamically optimal ‘erosion shield’, named armourEDGE, which quickly and simply repairs eroded wind turbine blades – a problem know as ‘leading edge erosion’ affecting the majority of operational wind turbines.
Their armourEDGE system is currently being installed on an operational offshore wind farm in northern Europe.
David Urch, managing director of Edge Solutions, said: “Leading edge erosion is a significant issue for wind turbines, offshore and onshore.
“With tip speeds approaching 330 km/h, continual impacts by rain, hail, ice and other airborne particulates damage the blade surface, leading to increased drag and reduced energy production. This drives up operating cost due to increased maintenance downtime and ultimately blade replacement.”
A study by the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult suggested combating leading edge blade erosion on UK offshore wind farms could boost annual energy production by 1.5 to 2%, increasing revenue by as much as £3.5 million on a 500MW offshore wind farm.
Mr Urch added: “Over the last four years we have developed a product which is easy to install, maintains the blades’ aerodynamic properties and is extremely durable, with an estimated lifespan of over 20 years.
“Each armourEDGE shield is up to one metre long and is custom formed to the exact blade type and then bonded into place by trained technicians. This allows rapid installation which results in less downtime and improved profitability for wind farm owners.”
The shields are made from a bespoke version of INEOS Styrolution’s ultra-tough Luran® SC thermoplastic material, created specifically for wind turbine blades.
The company is working with a leading wind turbine maintenance provider to deliver trained and certified technicians to support its roll out programme.
Mr Urch concluded: “The feedback from technicians is tremendous and we are keen to speak with wind farm operators to assist with their maintenance programmes scheduled for later this year and 2022.”
Ken MacIntosh, key account manager at INEOS Styrolution, commented: “It’s been very motivating to work with an entrepreneurial company like Edge Solutions. Together, we came up with the optimised material performance for the given challenge.”
The Luran® SC product line provides very high heat resistance, stiffness and excellent impact strength. Because of its inherent robustness, it is the material of choice for a wide range of challenging outdoor applications.