Wind turbines often operate in challenging environmental conditions. In hot and dusty climates, wind turbine blades are constantly exposed to abrasive particles that, according to many field reports, cause significant damages to the blade’s leading edge. On the other hand, in cold climates similar effects can be caused by prolonged exposure to hail and rain. Quantifying the effects of airfoil deterioration on modern multi-MW wind turbines is crucial to correctly schedule maintenance and to forecast the potential impact on productivity. Analyzing the impact of airfoil damage on fatigue and extreme loading is also important to improve the reliability and longevity of wind turbines. However, this is a topic that has not yet been extensively investigated. In this work, a blade erosion model is developed and calibrated using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The DTU 10MW Reference Wind Turbine (RWT) is selected as the case study for the analysis, as it is representative of the typical size of the future generation wind turbines. Lift and Drag polars are generated using the developed model and a CFD numerical set-up. Power and torque coefficients are compared in idealized conditions at two wind speeds, i.e. the rated speed and one below it. Full aero-servo-elastic simulations of the turbine are conducted with the eroded polars using NREL’s BEM-based code OpenFAST. Sixty-six ten-minute simulations are performed for each stage of airfoil damage, reproducing operating conditions specified by the IEC 61400-1 power production DLC-group, including wind shear, yaw misalignment and turbulence. Performance data, fatigue and extreme loads are compared for the aeroelastic simulations, showing maximum decreases in CP of about 12% as well as reductions in fatigue and extreme loading.

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