Leading edge erosion matters, so we put tape to the test.

March 28, 2019 Marianne Rodgers

aerial of wind farm on coast

We’re proud of our research at WEICan and the impact that we’ve been able to make in wind energy advancements across Canada.

As a non-profit institute that is mainly supported by the sales of electricity from our wind turbines, we need to find viable solutions for leading edge erosion because extending the lifetime of our wind turbine blades will help ensure the greatest return from our wind farm assets.

But, leading edge erosion isn’t just a problem for us at the Wind Energy Institute of Canada (WEICan), located in beautiful North Cape, PEI, this is a problem across the industry.

Leading-edge erosion alters the aerodynamics of the turbine blade, decreasing lift, and impacting its ability to generate rotational force. This in turn affects your Annual Energy Production (AEP) anywhere from 5%-15% (depending on the category level of blade erosion) and ultimately your bottom-line.

That is why it’s critical to repair erosion damage as soon as possible.

What happened when we challenged leading edge erosion with a tape?

aerial wind farm

Roughly two years ago we installed 3M™ Wind Protection Tape 2.0 on one of our five turbines to test the viability of tape as a solution to our leading edge erosion problems. The technology itself was interesting – made with a tough, high durable polyurethane elastomer, 3M™ Wind Protection Tape 2.0 was designed to help protect against blade deterioration caused by leading edge erosion.

But, would it perform in the field? Was it easy to apply, could it stand up against rotating tip speeds at 280 km/h, and was it strong enough to withstand the elements like sand, salt, hail, and UV rays?  

 “What’s really exciting is how 3M™ Wind Protection Tape 2.0 came to be. It’s the culmination of over 50 years of expertise that 3M has in the erosion protection of aerodynamic surfaces, from helicopter blades, to aircraft wings, and turbine blades.”Paolo Rocca, Renewable Energy Specialist, Electrical Engineering, 3M Canada

So, naturally as researchers at heart, we put it to the test.

What surprised us was how easy it was to repair our wind turbine blades with 3M™ Wind Protection Tape 2.0. The tape applied easily and remains intact today, nearly two years later.

One moment that really stuck out to me was when we accidently damaged a piece of the leading edge protection during a repair of a different turbine component. It was very easy to cut out the damaged section and patch it with 3M™ Wind Protection Tape 2.0.

That’s why I love the energy industry. The advancements in technology are exciting and fun to test. But, the result can help make an impact for cleaner air and a more sustainable future in the years to come. 

longshot of wind farm

Learn more about 3M™ Wind Protection Tape 2.0.

Read more about 3M™ Wind Protection Tape 2.0 and how you can help extend the life of your wind turbine blades or contact an expert.

Photo credits:

  • Marianne Rodgers headshot provided by the Wind Energy Institute of Canada
  • Hero image provided by the Wind Energy Institute of Canada
  • Inline images provided by the Wind Energy Institute of Canada 

About the Author

Marianne Rodgers

[enBio=Marianne has devoted her career to energy conservation. In her role as Scientific Director at WEICan, Marianne is focused on advancing the development of wind energy across Canada. Prior to joining WEICan, Marianne researched several types of energy conversion devices, including fuel cells, batteries, and photovoltaic – while also exploring how we can improve their performance for better reliability and durability. Marianne’s devotion to alternative energy has resulted in 30 publications and more than 30 conference presentations. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Prince Edward Island and is a member of the NSERC CREATE Selection Committee.],[enJob=Scientific Director, Wind Energy Institute of Canada (WEICan)],[frBio=Marianne a consacré sa carrière à la conservation de l’énergie. En tant que directrice scientifique de l’IEEC, Marianne s’intéresse à la progression du développement de l’énergie éolienne au Canada. Avant de se joindre à l’IEEC, Marianne a fait des recherches sur plusieurs types de dispositifs de conversion de l’énergie, notamment les cellules électrochimiques, les piles et les photovoltaïques, tout en explorant la façon dont nous pouvons améliorer leur rendement pour en accroître la fiabilité et la durabilité. La passion de Marianne à l’égard de l’énergie de remplacement a donné lieu à 30 articles et plus de 30 présentations lors de conférences. Elle est également professeure adjointe à l’Université de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard et membre du comité de sélection du programme FONCER du CRSNG.],[frJob=Directrice scientifique, Institut de l’énergie éolienne du Canada (IEEC)]

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