Longer lifetime. Minimised loads.
Bionics researchers have discovered what makes humpback whales, which can weigh up to around 25 tons, so amazingly agile: Tubercles on the leading edges of their flippers delay the water flow separation. Tests have confirmed that this effect can also be used to optimise rotor blades on wind turbines.
The tubercle technology – the next evolution stage for rotor blades
Tubercles on the leading edges of the rotor blades produce partial air swirls, transport energy to the boundary layer on the top surfaces of the airfoils, and improve the stall characteristics. Lessening the abrupt changes in buoyancy and resistance on the rotor blades leads to a reduction in vibrations.
Retrofitting – for aerodynamic optimisation
TEG offers manufacturers of wind turbines support in designing flow-optimised airfoils. In future, an easy-to-install retrofit kit made of glass fibre-reinforced plastic (GRP) will be available for retrospectively optimising existing wind turbines.
Advantages of the tubercle technology
Retrofitting leads to a significant reduction in loads.
- Less stress on critical components
- Significantly longer service life for wind turbines
- Foreseeably smaller “wakes” and better flow-off behaviour
- Possible to build more densely populated wind farms
- Reduction in service life-related operating costs
- Performance boost for wind turbines
- Higher added value
Not only in the air, but in water as well
Retrofitting wind turbines is not the only area where the tubercle technology can be applied. TEG is also working on the optimisation of ship propellers. Further applications from other industrial sectors are at the planning stage.