14 Jan Once again BLAEST expands the test centre for wind turbine blades
For many years it has been predicted that before long we would meet the limit of the possible length of wind turbine blades. So far, this prediction does not seem to come true any time soon.
New wind turbines continue to grow in size in order to produce more energy at lower cost and the development progresses so fast that the Blade Test Centre A/S (BLAEST) is now expanding the test centre for the second time in only five years. The expansion will enable BLAEST to test wind turbine blades longer than 100 meters. These blades are already being developed by several manufacturers.
Less than three years ago BLAEST successfully completed a test of the worlds’ largest wind turbine blade at that time – LM 88.4P – which, as the name implies – measured a total of 88.4 meters. This was only possible because the test centre had been extended by 25 meters few years ahead and even with the extra length the test hall was pushed to its limit.
“Not all wind turbine blades are as long as the LM 88.4P but no doubt the development is moving towards larger wind turbines with large rotors and longer blades,” says Erik Steen Jensen, Managing Director of BLAEST, and the company is now cooperating with Port of Aalborg, the owner of the facility, on extending the test hall by another 25 meters.
“It is important,” Erik continues, “that as a test centre we keep up with the development, and with the present extension we will be able to test blades of more than 100 meters for the future offshore wind turbines. Thanks to our location at the harbour, we are well prepared, as many of the future wind turbine blades simply cannot be carried by road due to their size,” he explains.
The extended test centre is scheduled to receive a very large blade for testing by September and the construction is in full progress which includes the casting of an extremely strong and two meters thick reinforced concrete floor to withstand the load of the large blades during test. The floor is designed to handle the loads of a 120 m blade, when it is required.
“The development in the wind power industry continues its rapid growth and will only pick up speed in the coming years. This fact will require an even bigger demand for wind turbine blade testing. Currently, our level of activity is soaring and challenging our present capacity”. “A larger test hall is high time,” Erik Steen Jensen concludes.