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Successful Completion of the BladeSave Project 

As a result of the fruitful collaboration between the BladeSave project partners, a unique solution for wind turbine blade monitoring, repair and management was born.  

The project sought to develop a condition monitoring system for wind turbine blades. BladeSave is a fusion between a Fibre Optic Structural Health Monitoring System, which provides multi-sensing capabilities (strains, vibrations and acoustic emission), and blade management software (WindManager) to link data from inspection and maintenance to structural health monitoring data to provide a comprehensive solution for wind turbine blade monitoring, repair and management. 

The project goals were to reduce the risks associated with blade failure while also contributing to the competitiveness of global wind energy production. 

The objectives of BladeSave were designed to benefit both industrial and B2B initiatives through validation, optimization, and the promotion of the system, including to agents, distributors and wind farm operators. 

Wind turbine blades are susceptible to fatigue failure and environmental effects, and cracks, if left unattended, can grow and propagate leading to costly blade failures. However, condition monitoring can mitigate this problem by continuously assessing the state of the blades, so that any problems are detected at an early stage and fixed immediately, at a low cost. 

BladeSave has undergone extensive testing, including on EWT turbine blades in the Netherlands, where the system was monitored in action over three months. TWI also undertook destructive testing on a wind turbine blade that had been fitted with the BladeSave system in order to test its effectiveness. Acoustic emission-based health monitoring enabled by fibre optic technology was demonstrated on the blade during these final tests at TWI and the technology was also successfully validated on tensile tests with glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) panels, the same material that the blade was made of. Matrix cracking, de-bonding and fibre breakage defects were detected by the fibre optic acoustic emission sensors that BladeSave was using. As a result, the technical developments have all been achieved at this point. 

Since BladeSave is able to ‘listen’ to the vibrations produced by the turbine blades, it can detect flaws earlier than other systems, meaning that the necessary repairs are smaller, and any downtime is minimized.  

The BladeSave system aims to increase the average annual availability of wind turbines from 95% to 98-99%, allowing component life spans to be maximized and reducing unscheduled repair, replacement and breakdown. 

The BladeSave consortium, made up of TWI, Renewable AdviceSmart Fibres, EWT and ASSIST Software, will continue to promote the BladeSave solution among wind farm owners and operators, wind turbine manufacturers and service providers. 

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Watch the BladeSave Demonstration Webinar

On the 27th of August 2020, BladeSave project partners hosted a compelling webinar entitled: Wind Turbine Structural Health Monitoring: a Demonstration of BladeSave.  

This webinar addresses specific issues related to the wind energy sector, being of high interest to wind farm owners and operators, wind turbine manufacturers and service providers, academics and researchers working on associated topics.  

In case you missed the webinar, we have provided the speaker slides , available for download. Furthermore, the recording of the webinar can be viewed below.  

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BladeSave Destructive Testing Trials

As the BladeSave project is drawing to a close, the consortium has completed the final stage of the project, by performing destructive testing trials with the BladeSave system.  

By proficiently merging the partners’ expertise in structural health monitoring, fibre optic sensors and management software, the BladeSave consortium has put together a system designed to reduce the risks associated with wind turbine blade failure.  

Project partner EWT has already performed a series of tests over a 3 month period, which yielded satisfying results concerning the system’s ability to detect blade cracks in early stages. But in order to further confirm the detecting capabilities of the BladeSave system, it has been submitted to one final test, executed by TWI. This involved undertaking destructive testing on a wind turbine blade, by simulating blade cracking and propagation using controlled loading. An additional ratification of the system was planned by running the BladeSave solution along with an existing commercial system and comparing the delivered results.  

As expected by the consortium, the tests demonstrated the capabilities of the system to detect early signs of damage caused by a series of factors, such as impacts or lightning strikes. The BladeSave solution monitors the amplification of these flaws and sends the information through the cloud for assessment. The solution developed within the BladeSave project supports maintenance decision-making for wind turbine operators, ensuring the inspection and repair processes occur precisely when needed, thus maximising component life span and reducing unscheduled repair, replacement and breakdown. 

A demonstration of the BladeSave system is programmed to take place on the 27th of August 2020, from 11.00 a.m to 12.00 a.m. CET, when project partners TWI and Renewable Advice are holding a free online webinar. 

You can find out more about the event and register to attend here.

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BladeSave in Ocean Energy Resources Online Magazine

The BladeSave system has been presented in the second edition of the Ocean Energy Resources online magazine, which serves the oil, gas and renewable energy communities. This represents an important step in promoting BladeSave among stakeholders and potential clients.

The article presents the BladeSave consortium and the innovative BladeSave solution, generated by the combined efforts and expertise of the partners. It also covers the successful testing phases of the system, praising its capabilities to detect cracks in the wind turbine blades in early stages.

View Magazine

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6th BladeSave Project Meeting in Winchester, U.K.

The 6th BladeSave H2020 project meeting took place on the 29th of January 2020 in Winchester, U.K. at Renewable Advice Ltd. Headquarters.

The meeting started with an overview of the work packages, previous actions, and current deliverables. Then Renewable Advice and TWI held a presentation about the BladeSave system demonstration progress, results, future plans for finalizing solution, and the quality attainment plan.

The rest of the day was focused on business plan development, financial review, the next deliverables, and reports. The meeting ended with the establishment of the calendar detailing the next month’s activities.

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On 10 to 13 of September, RenewableAdvice and TWI have presented BLADESAVE to HUSUM WIND 2019, one of the most important German wind trade fair and congress.

BLADESAVE System has been very well received by many companies presents at the event, generating a very high level of interest. There were some discussions with important companies in the industry that were interested of system volume and the quality of data produced, categories of damages identified, also system cost and when will be commercialy available.

More info on event:

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The 5th BLADESAVE Project Meeting in Brussels

The 5th BLADESAVE two days meeting, on 20th and 21st of August, was organized this time by project coordinator Renewable Advice in Brussels, at the invitation of the project officer, Liliana BORDA-MARQUILLO.

The first day meeting was a consortium meeting in which were reviewed the status of project, current activities and deliverables. Discussions were focused on demonstrative activities of the BLADESAVE system, business plan and marketing plan.

The 2nd day meeting took place at EASME – REA Headquarters, where the project officer participated to the meeting. At the meeting was made a review on the overall project progress and discussions on final deliverables to be submitted for the project final review.

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The 4th BLADESAVE Technical Meeting in Cambridge

During the 4th consortium meeting hosted by TWI on the 28th of May 2019, at their facilities in Cambridge, the consortium members started the discussion by focusing on the current status of the  BLADESAVE system’s demonstration phase,  the challenges that arose  during the demonstration and how the encountered issues  had been addressed.  The consortium also agreed upon a set of actions to be taken in order to improve the system stability and reliability.

The second area of focus / The next topic that was discussed was the full blade destructive testing plan. The testing will take place at a facility in Denmark and it will involve producing structural damage to the blade, which will be fixed by Renewable Advice. The consortium members discussed the preparations needed to ensure that the outcome of this destructive testing will be maximized and the relevant data will be recorded for post analysis.

Jialin Tang gave a presentation to review the project progress with the consortium. The end date of the BLADESAVE project is November 30, 2019. There are six deliverables to submit before the end date. Jialin Tang and Simona Schrammel suggested that the consortium allows a one-month review time / a review time of one month before the submission.

The BLADESAVE system has been installed on EWT’s turbine since November 2018. Elena Saldeva and Lukas Hunter gave an overview of the issues encountered after the system was installed in a operational environment. The issues included SmartSonic system laser failure, CUDA crashing and AE processing software errors and these issues delayed the start of the system demonstration until January 2019. During the system demonstration, additional issues arose, so Smart Fibres, ASSIST and TWI were designated by the consortium to lead the mitigation of those issues.

Stefan de Groot presented the details of the full blade destructive testing plan, including costs and the timeframe available for testing. Strategies to maximize the testing outcome in the given timeframe were also discussed. Given the short time frame of one week, Jialin and Benn proposed inducing a small crack in the blades before starting the test to accelerate the damage growth. The types of damages to be monitored are leading edge cracking and shell cracking, and the focus will be on using the AE functionality to detect the damage, with the possibility of also testing the second damage detecting mechanism if there is time.

Benn Faulkner gave a presentation on the business activities carried out, the status of signing distribution agreements for the BLADESAVE product and the upcoming event (Husum Wind, 2019 conference) at which Benn and Jialin will be present to promote the product. Renewable Advice and Assist were designated to prepare all the marketing materials (presentation video, logos, posters, flyers and brochures) needed to promote the product.

As usual, at the end of the day, Simona Schrammel presented the financial status of the project and the consortium agreed for the next consortium meeting to take place on August 20-21, 2019, either hosted by Renewable Advice or in Brussels.

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BLADESAVE at Global Wind Summit 2018 in Hamburg

Hamburg hosted the 2018 WindEurope Conference – GlobalWind Summit from 25th to 28th September 2018. At the event Smart Fibres Ltd. have presented and exhibit the BladeSave system. The demonstration of the BladeSave technology used have attracted the audience that was very interested in the proposed solution, of a structural health and condition monitoring system with multi-sensing capabilities and a blade management software, able to give wind farms operator real-time insights on the wind turbine status.

Download Event Poster

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The 3rd BLADESAFE Technical Meeting in Suceava

On the 3rd of July 2018, ASSIST hosted the third technical meeting of the Bladesave project. At that time, we were already in the middle of the project so, the focus was on the status of the project and deliverables. Currently, all the features from the software are delivered and we are in the testing and validation stage, this being an interactive process between TWI, EWT, Smart Fibres and ASSIST. During the meeting, all the partners discussed the status and the results of the testing and managed to establish the further actions points which need to be followed next.

After this, Jialin Tang gave a presentation to review the outcome of WP1 with the consortium. Next, the results obtained from the comparison test between conventional AE sensor and FBG AE sensors were presented by Jialin Tang and Lukasz Hutter followed by the data communication strategy explained by Alin Calinciuc.

Further, Lukasz Hutter introduced the final BladeSave system and revealed thatthere will be 18 sensors (6 sensors on each blade) installed on EWT’s wind turbine blades and a switching function which will be applied to simultaneously acquire data (switching is needed to monitor all sensors but only 2 can be monitored simultaneously – the switching time between each pair of sensor is to be decided). Also, Lukasz Hutter introduced the AE analysis software progress highlighting that, the data acquisition and waveform analysis have been completed and thatthe SF team are working to finalize the localization and damage characterization part (there will be a traffic light system introduced to indicate the severity of the damage – this need to be advised by TWI).

The example of output JSON file were discussed with Alin, this however required more clarification therefore,Lukasz Hutter explained to everyone that, in order to finalize the system design, it is important to confirm the strategy for the correlation between AE and strain data analysis. In addition, Stefan de Groot mentioned that the current strain data is monitoring the bending moment trend, and AE data analysis outcome (number of events) should be another indication of severe damage. Also, he have explained how to use the strain data to calculate the bending moment, an important parameter which can track the blade health monitoring.

This strategy will be applied to the BladeSave system the implementation of strain data analysis following to be discussed. So, there are two options, through turbine PLC or independently within the processing unit (EWT preferred the first option). Also, the vibration data will be used for learning purposes only as not clear usage has been decided. After this, Jialin Tang presented the key points of WP2.2.

Further, it was established that the system validation testing will be scheduled for the beginning of September and in October, will be carried out the system demonstrationLukasz Hutter and Stefan de Groot discussed the system integration plan highlighting that,there will be two installations to perform – strain system while blades on the ground and the rest when available (most likely at the end of September/ beginning of October). Therefore, it wasestablished that before the system demonstration, a paramilitary attenuation test will be carried out on the Renewable Advice facilities to confirm the sensor locations.

At the end of the day, Simona Schrammel presented the financial status. The consortium agreed to extend the WP1 until the middle of July, 2018, due to the technical work and report that taken longer than expected. In the end, we also decided to have the next consortium meeting hosted by the Renewable Advice on 4th of December, 2018.

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