BASF Coating for wind turbines passes rain check as it completes 50 hours of external testing
Offshore wind farms generate energy by harnessing the power of the strong winds at sea. However one of the major drawbacks is maintaining the components and steel surfaces of the turbines we rely on. The salt saturated air at sea causes havoc with anything susceptible to corrosion.
If a wind farm is to be profitable it must have a lifespan of at least 25 years. Keeping the turbines in service for such a long time is impossible without regular maintenance. However maintenance of these structures is very difficult. Unlike floating oil platforms wind turbines are anchored in the seabed and can’t simply be towed back to dry dock for re-coating.
All maintenance therefore needs to take place on-site. This maintenance understandably comes a quite a cost. These costs eat into the over running costs of power generation and reduce it’s effectiveness as an efficient form of renewable energy.
Whats the solution to high maintenance costs?
Introducing BASF’s RELEST Wind LEP S wind turbine erosion resistant coating. It recently passed an external 50-hour test at an unnamed institute in Denmark, say the German based company. They said the tests demonstrated, with blade speeds up to 160 metres a second, that the rain didn’t cause any notable damage to the coating. This coating by the way is virtually solvent-free! It consists of a gel coat, a filler, an edge protection and a topcoat. All based on two-component polyurethane compounds which comply with the present VOC rules.
BASF are understandably delighted with the results and say the coating system covers all components of the turbine system. It is designed for use from the base of the wind turbine to the rotor blade edge at the top. Stress loads to rotor blades exposed during the operation are huge. Top speeds of up to 300kph at the blade tips, place tremendous strain on the coatings. If that wasn’t enough consider all the weather factors such as rain, hail, salt and UV radiation. All these factors quickly wear out the blades and lead to more regular maintenance.
RELEST Wind LEP S improves the efficiency of wind turbine operations and is applied directly onto the rotor blades. This new coating system will reduce potential maintenance costs by providing effective erosion protection in harsh conditions. It has a low-film density which also makes application easier.
Using Drones to Inspect Wind Turbine Coatings
AirRobot GmbH is investigating the idea of using drones to inspect coatings on onshore and offshore wind farms. Until now any inspection work has involved workers scaling the turbines wearing climbing harnesses, an expensive and time-consuming task.