Wooden Blades have 20 year life span

Design life of twenty years in
high wind and high turbulence conditions.

New Zealand’s Windflow Technology’s turbine, the Windflow 500, was a
joint winner of the Clever Wood Solutions Award and was also highly commended
in the Outdoor Infrastructure category of the NZ Timber Design Awards.  The awards were presented at a gala evening
at Te Papa in Wellington.

The blades of the Windflow 500
are made of laminated NZ Pinus Radiata.
Other wind turbine manufacturers use various components for wind turbine
blades, usually a composite.  The turbine received the Clever Wood
Solutions Award due to its solution to the common difficulty with laminated
timber construction being attached to other solid structures.  The innovative steel connection at the
blade root has been tested many times during Windflow’s IEC Certification
process and has proved abundantly strong in this critical area.

The blade as a whole has been
tested rigorously under static and fatigue load conditions.  Following the latest fatigue test at IRL’s
facilities in Auckland,
the blade has been certified by Lloyd’s Register as meeting the requirements of
IEC Technical Specification TS61400-23 for a design life of twenty years in
high wind and high turbulence conditions.
The blades are manufactured by Windflow Technology subsidiary Wind
Blades in Auckland.

When designing the blade, it was necessary to make strong, light-weight
blades and preferably using sustainable materials. Pinus Radiata stood
up to various different tests and proved its worth as very strong blade

A common difficulty with laminated timber construction is finding a
method to attach the timber to other solid structures. This is a
particular problem in the laminated timber Windflow wind turbine blade
as a rigid connection must be made to steel hub. This connection must
be strong enough to transfer the bending loads in the blade in wind
speeds up to 110 kmph with a large safety margin. A failure of this
connection would be catastrophic for the turbine.

Windflow developed a clever solution to this problem by gluing 34
tapered steel inserts know as “carrots” into the end of the laminated
timber blades. This involved developing special processes and tools to
insert the carrots precisely in the blade. Special glue to fix the
carrots into the blade was also developed in conjunction with an
adhesive supplier.

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