The huge dynamic loads supported by the fiber glass blades when turbulence occurs drastically decrease their life. The researchers of the Risi¸ National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy in Denmark have thought of using an elastic component which not only increases the life of the blades but which also reduces the costs with maintenance. The development of the ADAPWING projects is nothing else than an attempt to achieve the same degree of wings/turbine blades that hawks have in the most challenging winds they are facing in the air, naturally.
Aircraft flaps use a similar technique with the difference that they are manually controlled by the captain. The elastic material in the newly projected turbine blades provides them enough elasticity to change their shape on their own. “Providing the blade with a movable trailing edge it is possible to control the load on the blade and extend the life time of the wind turbine components” said one of the research specialists, Helge Aagaard Madsen. ADAPWING will soon go into tunnel testing where loads can be controlled and the blades performances can be monitored.
If everything goes as planned, we will probably see this technology in the new offshore wind farms: “If the results confirm our estimated performance,” said Madsen, “we will test the rubber trailing edge on a full-scale wind turbine within a few years.”