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Towers and Foundations for Wind Energy Converters
In the meantime, wind energy has advanced to one of Germany's largest renewable energy sources. 19,460 wind energy converters (WEC), with a total power rate of more than 22,247 MW, have been installed in 2007. These have helped reduce the annual CO2 emission by approx. 35 million tons. However, the structural engineers are faced with new challenges concerning the substructure designs of ever larger WECs.
Wind Turbine Rotor Blades
Rotor blades are the core of wind turbines. They determine the maximum harvest of wind energy. Their full functionality and security against fatigue and degradation has to be designed and assured for a service life of at least twenty years. Meanwhile, keeping pace with the rapid development of the market, rotor blade size is steadily increasing particularly for off-shore operations. In order to meet the requirements within the framework of design, development and construction of rotor blades, a comprehensive knowledge of the specific essentials, e.g. of the outer and inner stresses and strains, computing and evaluation methods, and material capability and performance characteristics is necessary. Durable construction and optimised production technologies, therefore, are necessary prerequisites for long service intervals, just as new and yet to be developed structural health monitoring systems (SHM) are. Experience shows that quite a lot of damage can still occur to existing rotor blades and that a lot of problems in this area are not solved yet. Also, the solution to the problem of disposal is still in its infancy.
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