Blade repair and inspection firm Altitec is partnering with 3M’s renewable energy division to install wind vortex generators on turbine blades.

The Vortex Generator reduces airflow separation and increases wind turbine energy yield.The Vortex Generator reduces airflow separation and increases wind turbine energy yield.The design is intended to address aerodynamic issues common to most turbine blades and, in doing so, increase a turbine’s annual energy production by 2-3%.

Rotor blades typically twist no more than 10 - 20 degrees from root to tip. And while chord length – the blade width at a given distance along its length – can vary, these factors can prevent wind turbines from achieving optimal aerodynamic performance. The result can be undesired airflow separation – known as aerodynamic stall – along with additional noise.

In partnership with Smartblade, 3M developed its Wind Vortex Generator as a thermoplastic aerodynamic enhancement. The generator can be attached to the rotor blade, resulting in attached flow to enhance performance by guiding wind flow around the blade surface.

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