Supply Chain Connections: UpWind, SMART BLADE team with 3M team on Vortex Generator

October 4, 2013

Operation & maintenance service provider UpWind Solutions, Inc., and wind energy aerodynamics expert SMART BLADE said they have partnered with 3M to deliver new Vortex Generators (VGs) for wind turbine rotor blades. The expertise of the three organizations created a new VG solution that is aerodynamically tested to provide the highest possible increase in AEP, with proven durability and a standardized installation process that reduces costs and downtime, UpWind said.

The VG has been accepted as a cost-effective upgrade to improve the cross flow on wind turbine blades. While they are not a new solution, VGs were lacking in durability, adhesive properties, product life, repeatable installation process, and proven performance improvement. UpWind Solutions, SMART BLADE, and 3M analyzed the existing technology and created a new VG solution that can make a major impact on the performance of wind turbines, according to the companies. Initial tests that have been running since November 2012 show an AEP increase by 2-3 percent. On one test site, the increase in AEP translated into a one-year return on investment per turbine.