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Press release

Future-proof: ENERTRAG drones successfully pass 2nd system validation by German TÜV Rheinland

Compact all-rounder: The new LPS box in action<br />
© Silke Reents
Compact all-rounder: The new LPS box in action
© Silke Reents
Dauerthal (renewablepress) - The rotor blade inspection including lightning protection measurement by drone has received the second system validation by TÜV Rheinland on 5th of September 2023. Already successfully validated by TÜV Nord last year, ENERTRAG Operation continues to consistently pursue its open and transparent technology strategy.

The core idea of the procedure is the measurement of an electric field around the rotor blades. Using a sensor mounted on the drone, a high-voltage generator connected in the hub simulates a lightning strike, which at 6000 V is much more accurate than previous methods. The procedure, which has now also been confirmed by TÜV Rheinland in Germany, can skip micro-fractures and corrosion in the lightning protection system in the same way as a real lightning strike and detect interruptions in the lightning protection system with centimeter accuracy. This works with any lightning protection system (LPS) that can be reached by the hub of a wind turbine when the high-voltage generator is connected.

As part of the validation, the company also had the new LPS field equipment, consisting of a miniaturized LPS box and an improved signal adapter, verified.

Over the past year, the experts at the accredited inspection body have successively developed the procedure and its components and optimized them for the requirements in the wind field. Because what the technical developments revealed was that each wind turbine type behaves differently with regard to the connection of the HV generator.

This knowledge is now also made available to other inspection companies. In a licensing model, it is thus possible to benefit from the modern technology worldwide. Another plus point: because the flight path is always the same, the inspection can make an enormous contribution to better tracing the occurrence of damage in the past and also to forecasting it in the future as part of predictive maintenance.

Matthes Schachtner, Head of Technical Services at ENERTRAG Operation, concludes: "Operators and managers have a duty to increase the efficiency of their wind turbines. In order to compensate for additional costs through improved efficiency, the rotor blade is increasingly coming into focus. Damage to the blades can mean high repair costs or even complete replacement, as well as long downtimes with high yield losses. The new, long rotor blades are particularly susceptible to damage due to their high blade tip speed. Especially the new turbine generations are very difficult to inspect by rope climbers due to blade lengths between 70 and 90 meters. Here, our technology offers an efficient solution that means less downtime and lower inspection costs. My team and I are very pleased that we can offer the industry a future-proof option with our new approach, which is proving very reliable in the field."

All the innovations can also be seen at this year's German fair Husum Wind in Hall 5, Stand A19.

About ENERTRAG Operation

ENERTRAG Operation is a subsidiary of ENERTRAG and bundles the technical competence in the operation phase of renewable energy projects under its roof. The company currently manages over 1,200 energy plants. More than 120 employees at six locations ensure safe and profitable plant operation. The portfolio includes operational management as well as inspections.

About Sulzer Schmid Laboratories AG

Since its creation in 2016, Sulzer Schmid is at the forefront of innovation in the energy service sector. With its UAV technology and sophisticated data analytics platform the company helps customers digitalize blade inspections by producing high-quality and consistent visual inspection data. The cloud-based 3DX™ Blade Platform offers transparent asset management for wind turbine rotor blades based on data analytics and digital applications, providing actionable insights to optimize performance of renewable energy assets. Sulzer Schmid has been performing wind turbine inspections world-wide, affirming its position as a highly experienced expert technology partner.

TÜV Rheinland

TÜV Rheinland is an independent service group for testing, inspection, certification and consulting and training. With more than 150 years of industrial experience, the company now employs around 20,870 people worldwide. TÜV Rheinland inspects technical systems and products around the globe, supports innovations in technology and business, trains people in numerous professions and certifies management systems according to international standards. Since 2006, TÜV Rheinland has been a member of the United Nations Global Compact for more sustainability and against corruption.

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Caption: Compact all-rounder: The new LPS box in action
© Silke Reents

Dauerthal, den 14 September 2023

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