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Blade Reliability Collaborative
2020-05-25 19:16:05

Blade reliability is one of the most costly elements of plant installation and operation because blade failure can cause extensive down time and lead to expensive repairs. The manufacturing process can be a significant source of defects due to the complicacy of producing very large composite structures with inexpensive materials and processes. Blades can also be damaged during the transportation and installation process. Finally, wind turbines operate in harsh environments where wind-blown particulates cause surface erosion and lightning stirkes can sometimes  destroy blades. The summary effect of these issues is that blades have been responsible for 11% of turbine downtime in recent years, which is the third largest source of any component. Furthermore, the amount of downtime attributed to blade failure has increased over the past few years, and it is anticipated that as rotors continue to grow to larger sizes, blade reliability issues could become more prominent.

The Sandia-led Blade Reliability Collaborative (BRC), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, seeks to understand the root causes of premature blade failure and unplanned maintenance, and the most cost-effective methods to insure that blades can survive their expected operational life.

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