Case

Lightning Protection Systems

PolyTech

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PolyTech PolyTech is headquartered in Denmark where production, research & development and senior management are located. Company expertise majors on:  Leading edge protection Lightning protection Turbine internals Blade Add-ons (serrations, vortex generators, spoilers)PolyTech is your partner throughout the entire value chain. From design to production, from off-the-shelf to custom-made. The company shares your ambitions and understands your goals.  With offices and production facilities in Denmark, USA and China.

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PolyTech provides a broad range of customised options to protect wind turbine blades and nacelles against lightning strikes. Effective protection is available for both glass and carbon fibre blades and fully compliant with the latest industry standards.

Lightning protection of wind turbine blades has evolved. From the rugged, but passive LPS of the past to a modern lightning protection system with more advanced options. In addition, the industry standards for lightning protection now have stricter requirements and compulsory testing.

The increases in blade length and the use of conductive materials such as carbon fibre challenges the wind turbine industry to protect blades against frequent lightning strikes. Without the right lightning protection, even a single strike can cause costly damage and potentially lead to production stop or even require a blade replacement.

Solve the carbon challenge

Modern blades are frequently manufactured using Carbon Fibre Composite as part of their structure. While carbon provides lower weight and greater structural strength than the glass fibre alternative, carbon is also more electric conductive. This makes protecting carbon blades against structural damage and incineration a more complex challenge.

PolyTech can show how LPS solutions can keep the critical structure of the blade safe. Using electric models of the entire blade, PolyTech can design components that guide the electrical current along an optimal path. Surface protection measures such as Expanded Metal Foil (EMF), which was originally developed for the aerospace industry, in combination with equipotential bonding placed at the right positions, ensure that CFRP blades absorb less current and can withstand multiple lightning strikes.

Make informed decisions with key data

PolyTech has developed Lightning Key Data® System (LKDS), a unique measurement system which enables wind turbine operators to make more informed decisions about maintenance, asset management, and operational planning.

Most lightning monitoring systems can detect that a lightning strike above a certain threshold has occurred and, in some cases, measure the peak current, but not much else. LKDS records key data such as the exact time, peak current, specific energy and charge transfer of the strike. Utilizing this information for enhanced condition monitoring and predictive maintenance will save significant operational expenses – completely in line with the latest recommendations in IEC 61400-24 Ed2 (2019). This is especially true if the data collection is combined with advanced analytics carried out by either PolyTech or the operator.

Customized solutions

PolyTech often works with customers to develop customized solutions to match individual specifications. This includes all stages of the development, from initial conceptual studies, through development, prototyping, testing, documentation and production of the final product. PolyTech’s processes ensure close cooperation and exchange of knowledge to provide the best mechanical solutions to your electrical problems. Some of PolyTech’s solutions are generic across various blade designs and can be adapted to a specific project with a minimum of alteration saving development costs and increasing the time to market significantly.

Comply with industry standards

In the latest revision of the IEC 61400-24 Wind turbines – Part 24: Lightning protection Ed2 (2019), the standards recognize that risk assessment and lightning measurement can be used to quantify the exposure and thereby define the maintenance intervals.

The revised standards are considerably harsher in terms of requirements and stricter in terms of compliance, with all the previous “informative” test sections now becoming “normative”. All lightning protection systems pioneered by PolyTech are fully compliant with the revised standard.

State-of-the-art testing

PolyTech operates the world’s largest test facility for direct lightning effect testing. The facility can conduct direct effect testing in accordance with the relevant industry standards, such as IEC 61400-24 Ed2 (2019), on blades of any size.

The experienced staff of test engineers have performed a wide range of verification and certification tests on coupons/panels, sub-systems, and full-scale structures like wind turbine nacelles and blades.

Researching the future of LPS

Besides offering a wide range of LPS solutions, PolyTech is actively working on perfecting new technological breakthroughs. One example is SmartLPS®, an integrated condition monitoring system for lightning protection.

These intelligent solutions will enable wind turbine operators to make more informed decisions about maintenance, asset management and operational planning.  The SmartLPS® sensors can also act as a system infrastructure used to measure vibrations, G-force, shock, temperature and more, providing greater knowledge and lower costs to the asset owner.

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PolyTech
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Primary contact
CEO Mads Kirkegaard
+45 7510 10 26