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Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Durham University reduce the duration and costs of wind turbine blade testing

Working in collaboration with Durham University, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s blade experts developed a bi-axial testing method to address the challenge of reducing the duration and costs of blade testing, while making it more representative of real-world operating conditions.

reduction in overall test times ensures more cost-effective testing
reduction in fatigue test duration, increasing speed to market for OEM client blades

The collaboration with a world-class research and test institution such as Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult cements our position as an offshore industry leader and enforces our commitment to innovation.

Alexis Crama
VP Offshore, LM Wind Power

Bi-axial testing reduces fatigue test duration by almost 50%

The initial research was carried out as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Durham University and set out to optimise the test design and develop a faster and even more precise method for conducting the flapwise and edgewise fatigue testing simultaneously on a wind turbine blade. 

The resulting fatigue analysis software, developed by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in collaboration with Durham University and utilising extensive data from the company LM Wind Power, has been certified by renewable energy certification body DNV GL. The software ensures that the physical test loads replicate the service life damage over as much of a blade as possible. With data from the analysis, a bi-axial test can be designed and undertaken to more accurately represent the fatigue that a blade in the field would experience over its lifetime.

Bi-axial moves away from conventional methods of testing and can also be presented to a certification body. Having attracted significant interest from industry, the bi-axial testing method was used as part of the XL-BLADE DemoWind project, which validated an LM Wind Power 88m blade, one of the longest in the world at that time, and continues to be used as part of Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s blade testing methodology.