Wind Turbines lose roughly 1.5% efficiency every year through erosion. Usage of available erosion protection tape further diminishes performance by an average of 6%. Although Erosion protection products reduce blade replacement costs by extending the life of the blades, operator maintenance costs will actually increase due to the limited life of the tape. Existing materials cannot survive long in rain impact and require constant maintenance and replacement materials. This increased maintenance results in lost revenue/energy due to the inactivity of the blades.
The Conformal Vortex Generator (CVG) in development by the R&D team at Edge Aerodynamix uses a new material that is being tested on their T-28B aircraft specifically for a helicopter blade STC. This material has been proven to survive rain impact without any damage to the tape. This technology increases annual wind turbine energy production, provides protection from erosion and impacts, reduces drag caused by leading edge erosion, reduces vibrations, and increases gearbox life. The CVG material provides structural protection of the blades, protecting against blade tip erosion from icing, storms, and contaminants such as salt while also repairing damage from turbine blade erosion and restores performance.
NREL is currently testing the technology in a field trial. Preliminary results testing the Edge CVG tape against competing 3M tape show KWH production increases starting at 6% at 7 meters per second growing to 7.4% at 11+ meters per second wind speeds.