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Assessment of a rotor blade extension retrofit as a supplement to the lifetime extension of wind turbines

: Rosemeier, M.; Saathoff, M.

Volltext ()

Wind energy science : WES 5 (2020), Nr.3, S.897-909
ISSN: 2366-7443
ISSN: 2366-7451
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IWES ()

The potential lifetime of wind turbine components is usually not fully utilized as the site conditions are less severe than assumed in the turbine design. Operators of wind farms can make use of the excess fatigue budget to increase the energy yield and thus decrease the levelized cost of energy (LCoE). To achieve this, the lifetime of the turbine can be extended until the fatigue budget is exhausted. Alternatively, a rotor blade extension (RBE) is an option to increase the energy yield of a wind turbine. An RBE increases the blade length and thus the swept area and the energy yield. An RBE also increases the loads on the turbine, however. Higher fatigue loads in turn reduce the fatigue budget of a turbine. This study investigates whether the use of an RBE is advantageous compared with a sole lifetime extension (LTE). As the use case, a commercial 1.5 MW turbine located in northern Germany was investigated. Aeroservoelastic multibody load simulations and simplified static load simulations were verified with each other. These simulations revealed the loads to determine the fatigue budget of the turbine components. Since the blade became the critical component when a certain RBE length was exceeded, the blade was subjected to a structural fatigue analysis. The fatigue analysis focused on the trailing-edge bond line which became critical when lead-lag loads increased with blade length. Finally, the energy production gains due to LTE and RBE were assessed. For the use case turbine, this study revealed an LTE of 8.7 years after a design life of 20 years with an additional energy yield of 43.5 %. Moreover, the extension of the 34 m blade with an RBE length of 0.8 m further increased the yield by 2.3 %.