Turbines of the year 2019: Rotor blades

Ever longer and generally lighter units mark the top contenders in a hotly contested class.

Long load… LM’s 107-metre blade for GE Haliade-X 12MW offshore turbine delivered for testing
Long load… LM’s 107-metre blade for GE Haliade-X 12MW offshore turbine delivered for testing

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MEDAL WINNERS

GOLD LM’s blade for GE Haliade-X

LM Wind Power’s long history of breaking blade-size records goes back to the LM 61.5 of 2004.

But the slender pre-coning LM 107.0P, designed and developed for parent company GE’s 12MW-plus offshore machine, is the longest single-piece unit yet developed for a wind turbine.

The advanced structural design in C&GFRE uses LM’s hybrid carbon technology and features a 5.4-metre blade-root bolt-circle diameter and a competitive 55-tonne mass, taking into account the blade length and the loading associated with high-wind conditions.

Additional features include an integrated gelcoat, plus LM’s leading-edge anti-erosion and insulated lightning-protection systems, together with vortex generators and spoilers.

The first blade set was installed in 2019 on GE’s Haliade-X (onshore) prototype in Rotterdam, while another two blades were shipped to test centres in the UK and US. This should enable GE to cut the time required for blade validation and commercialising the turbine.

The global validation programme includes static testing to demonstrate the blade’s ability to withstand peak conditions, and fatigue testing to simulate 25-plus years of offshore operation.

The blades are made at LM’s offshore-dedicated manufacturing facilities in Cherbourg, France.

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