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The LEAPWind project tackles one of the biggest challenges for wind turbine blade operation – erosion of the blade’s leading edge.

The project consortium is led by wind energy component manufacturer, ÉireComposites, along with the major wind energy OEM and operator, Suzlon, and the research group at the large-scale structural testing facility at NUI Galway, which complement one another in bringing together the full range of expertise that is required to address each of the key areas in this project. The LEAPWind project is funded under the EASME European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Work Programme and is set to begin in January 2019 and will run for 2 years.

The consortium proposes a solution that is incorporated into the manufacturing stage of the blade, employing advanced composite materials and innovative manufacturing processes, to reduce the likelihood of the leading edge erosion occurrence. In doing this, the proposed LEAPWind project aims to commercialise a novel leading-edge wind-blade component that prevents blade erosion. In order to achieve this goal, a novel blade component will be designed, manufactured, tested and put into operation at Suzlon’s Portuguese Wind Farm.

The key market impact of the LEAPWind project is the elimination of this critical market risk within the offshore wind energy industry, which reduces the levelized cost of wind energy by 10%. In turn, the introduction of this novel wind blade component will see maintenance costs of offshore wind turbine blades lowered by 20% as protection and repair measures against leading-edge erosion will no longer be necessary.

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