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The Influence of Eroded Blades on Wind Turbine Performance Using Numerical Simulations

: Schramm, Matthias; Rahimi, Hamid; Stoevesandt, Bernhard; Tangager, Kim

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Energies 10 (2017), No.9, Art. 1420, 15 pp.
ISSN: 1996-1073
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IWES ()

During their operation, wind turbine blades are eroded due to rain and hail, or they are contaminated with insects. Since the relative inflow velocity is higher at the outer than at the inner part of the blades, erosion occurs mostly at the outer blade region. In order to prevent strong erosion, it is possible to install a leading edge protection, which can be applied to the blades after the initial installation, but changes the shape of the initial airfoil sections. It is unclear how this modification influences the aerodynamic performance of the turbine. Hence, it is investigated in this work. The NREL 5 MW turbine is simulated with clean and eroded blades, which are compared to coated blades equipped with leading edge protection. Aerodynamic polars are generated by means of Computational Fluid Dynamics, and load calculations are conducted using the blade element momentum theory. The analysis in this work shows that, compared to clean rotor blades, the worse aerodynamic behaviour of strongly eroded blades can lead to power losses of 9%. In contrast, coated blades only have a small impact on the turbine power of less than 1%.