CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Lightning Interception Blade Implant

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - LIBI (Lightning Interception Blade Implant)

Berichtszeitraum: 2017-06-01 bis 2018-11-30

Lightning related damages and costs are regarded being one of the largest issues for wind turbine operators in certain regions of the world, and the effort in improving designs, manufacturing quality and scheduled maintenance of modern wind turbines has become very important for the manufacturers. Particularly the blades are very exposed, being the most expensive single component of the turbine and which also causes the longest outage time once damaged. Since 2010, wind turbines may have been certified according the IEC 61400-24 Wind turbines – Part 24: Lightning protection, requiring verification of the applied protection measures. The certification and the required verification process have improved the design performance a lot, but there are still a large variety of blade designs which experience damages in field.

Global lightning Protection Services have since 2014 developed the Lightning Interception Blade Implant (LIBI), which will become the future industry standard for wind turbine blade lightning protection systems (LPS). The system is a concept which is designed and verified up front, and where only a minor adaption to the geometry is required for implementing it into a new blade. The LIBI has been tested mechanically and electrically, to ensure its outstanding performance and to provide confidence in the market. Further more the LIBI has received a DNV/GL component certificate, meaning that wind turbine manufacturers can easily adapt this new technology in their existing type certificate of blades, making the transition from their existing blade LPS to LIBI very simple.

The specific project aims at demonstrating the technology in real blade designs, such that 8-10 blade OEMs identified throughout the project will be equipped with LIBI and exposed to the verification tests. By proving the performance of the systems in this demonstration project, we expect to convince the market that LIBI is the most robust solution for blade LPS, it is cost competitive, it is easy to install, and provides a protection efficiency superior to all other blade LPS on the market.
Since the initiation of the project, the work has concentrated on the four main areas

- Finalizing the technical design of the LIBI, electrical and mechanical verification tests, and describing the concept from a technical standpoint. Technical drawings and description for customer handover are being developed.
- Certification of the LIBI for new blades and as retrofit solution. The Evaluation report and conformity statements have been received, and the certificate is expected in July 2017
- Contacting potential costumers, and agreeing to start the adaptation process. Following successful adaptation, prototypes are being made and implemented, and the verification tests passing the requirements in IEC 61400-24 is then leading to continued discussion on serial delivery. So far, eight adaptation projects have been started, one of them leading to serial orders in June.
- Marketing the LIBI on technical conferences, via customer visits and at commercial trade shows.
- IPR handling. Two patents have been filed on the LIBI technology, and the ongoing process in replying to questions from the patent authorities and answering questions related to potential infringements have been handled since the beginning of the project.
The LIBI has proven its worth for many different reasons:

- It passes all the verification tests as defined in IEC 61400-24,
- It is acknowledged to be easier to implement in blade manufacturing that competing systems, and being less dependent on manual labor
- It is equipped with the DNV/GL component certificate, making it simple to introduce into existing blade type certificates
- It is cost competitive (lower CAPEX considering also installation time) and can soon be delivered out of Europe and China for supporting the different markets.
- Its superior interception efficiency ensure remarkably lower down time due to damages (reduction in OPEX)

We feel the wind is blowing our way, and we are proud of supporting a cleaner and more environmental friendly world at a significantly reduced cost.
Sketch of LIBI implemented in a blade tip