UK-based power plant consultant Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has installed a new rain erosion test rig at its National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, England.
The new ORE Catapult rig has been designed to simulate erosion caused due to the impacts of water droplets on a wind turbine blade during operation.
Supplied by consulting engineering company research and development (R&D) subsidiary R&D Test Systems, the test rig was acquired using funds from Innovate UK.
With the installation, ORE Catapult will be able to increase its extensive blade testing and research activities, allowing the company to offer deep engineering and technical analysis alongside interpretating test results for customers and research programmes. The system will also facilitate better understanding of the impact that rain erosion can have on materials, repairing applications and methodologies.
ORE Catapult's business development head Stephen Robertson said: “The addition of a rain erosion test rig to our already extensive blade testing capabilities further reinforces ORE Catapult’s position as a world-leading expert in wind turbine blade testing.
“The procurement of the new rig was in direct response to a clear market need for this type of independent, open-access testing. It will allow turbine and blade manufacturers and the supply chain to investigate and mitigate the effects of rain erosion on turbine blades, and to trial new types of materials and protective coatings.”
With enhanced understanding of the fundamental physics of erosion and how it can be mitigated will result in improved efficiency and reduced costs, as well as assisting in the development of protective coatings and materials.
Currently, the company is working on a commissioning and rig performance analysis programme with an aim to make the new test rig facility operational from July this year.
Image: ORE Catapult’s rain erosion test rig. Photo: courtesy of Offshore Renewable Energy.