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Gamesa scoops wind innovation award for second time

Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa has won the JEC Innovation award for wind energy for the second year running, this time for one of its modular blades, the Innoblade.

The blade is part of Gamesa’s G128-4.5MW turbine suite, and is the longest in the onshore industry at 62.5 metres.

Created in 1998, the JEC Innovation award seeks to recognise innovations in composite materials in all companies across the world, and reward those that could prove pivotal to the development of global industry.

“Innovation is the only way to make our processes more efficient and our products more competitive,” said Eneko Sanz, one of the Gamesa engineers that developed the winning blade. “It is therefore the only way to ensure Gamesa's leadership of the sector. Innoblade is a crystal clear example of how technology can be turned into a competitive advantage.”

Divided into two parts, the Innoblade modular blade is assembled in the field rather than in a factory. The blade is equipped with various sub-systems which give the turbine new features, such as fibre optic sensors embedded into the laminates that enable the reduction of the loads transferred to the turbine and pre-load sensors in the bolts at the mid-level joinery to ensure that all the blades are properly mounted. It also features a high-performance lightning conductor, adapted for the size and modular nature of the blade, and an illuminated beacon at the tip of the blade.

According to Gamesa, the G128-4.5 MW wind turbine is lightweight, despite its size, and is as easy to transport and assemble as a 2 MW turbine.

This is due to the modular Innoblade feature, and Gamesa’s FlexiFit system, which comprises a crane attached to the nacelle that acts as an assembly and operation and maintenance tool.

Additionally, the company has developed further innovations, including a CompacTrain, a drive train consisting of a semi-integrated main shaft and a 2-stage composite gearbox which rotates at high speed, a GridMate, a modular electrical system that enables partial capacity utilisation and isolates the loads deriving from voltage dips to the mechanical train, the ConcreTower, a tower with pre-fabricated sections to facilitate transportation and assembly, and the MultiSmart, a multi-variable control system that can reduce the loads borne by certain parts by up to 30%.
 

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