Recently, EDF Renewable Services (EDF RS), a leading provider of renewable operations and maintenance (O&M) services in North America, and 3M, an industry leader in wind technologies, announced a new agreement to install 3M™ Wind Vortex Generators on wind turbines across the U.S. The collaboration will leverage the materials expertise of 3M with the highly-skilled installation and wind turbine blade repair teams from EDF Renewable Services to provide wind plant owners with turnkey solutions to increase efficiency and maximize annual energy production (AEP).3M wind vortex generators are small attachments made from durable materials that energize a flow around the blade and reduce flow separation. Due to the unique shape and properties of every wind turbine blade, the positioning of wind vortex generators is customized for each blade design. Additionally, vortex generators are applied using 3M™ Acrylic Foam Tape, which accommodates the flexing and residual forces acting on the blade surface while still providing high adhesive strength in challenging weather conditions.
“As the largest third-party provider of O&M services in North America, EDF Renewable Services is the perfect collaborator for 3M as we continue our commitment to building, protecting and enhancing the performance of wind turbines,” said Santhosh Chandrabalan, Global Business Manager for Wind Energy, 3M Renewable Energy Solutions. “When properly installed, wind vortex generators energize the flow around a blade’s surface and reduce aerodynamic separation, improving the turbine’s performance in terms of power, loads and service life.”
“With 30 years of experience and 10 GW of renewable projects under contract, EDF RS is a leading independent service provider and we are pleased to be in collaboration with 3M to deploy the wind vortex generator technology,” said Larry Barr, Executive Vice President of EDF Renewable Services. “Entering into this agreement with a leading manufacturer of wind vortex generators, adhesives and blade coatings, collectively provides the best-in-class blade repair and blade enhancement services in the market.”
Relying on the joint competencies of 3M and EDF Renewable Services, the 3M wind vortex generator collaboration will provide owners with an economically viable upgrade opportunity that can increase AEP by 2-3 percent, stabilize aerodynamics balance load effects and reduce noise due to reduced stall. As a result of the attachment and its many benefits, a wind vortex generator installation can pay for itself in approximately 1-2 years.
As a direct result of 3M’s expertise in providing solutions to maximize energy production, approximately 2,000 initial installations of wind vortex generators have already yielded a two percent increase in AEP. Moving forward, 3M plans to share the potential benefits of other field-tested solutions to address common challenges experienced by wind turbine contractors and owners.