UMaine completes large wind blade test for Gamesa

The 56m blade is longest tested in UMaine Offshore Wind Laboratory to date.

The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (UMaine, Orono, ME, US) has completed static strength testing of a 56m long wind turbine blade for wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa (Zamudio, Vizcaya, Spain). The blade was manufactured in North America and delivered to the University of Maine in late August. In the testing, the blade was subjected to loads in four directions to prove the structure met international strength standards.

The Gamesa blade was the largest tested to date in the UMaine Offshore Wind Laboratory. The full-service facility offers testing and material characterization services for every stage of blade development. The lab, which opened in 2011, was funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, Washington, DC, US) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Maine Technology Asset Fund through the Maine Technology Institute, and a 2010 Maine bond.

“We are honored to have served one of the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturers,” said Habib Dagher, director of the UMaine Composites Center. “This is the biggest structure we have tested to date, extending nearly 80% of the length of our blade test lab.”

“Our engineers, technicians and students did a great job designing, building and operating the equipment needed to safely rotate and test the 56-meter blade,” said John Arimond, the business development executive with the UMaine Composites Center. Arimond joined UMaine in 2013 after 28 years in industry, most recently serving as CTO of a New Zealand-based manufacturer of 500-kW wind turbines.

Juan Diego Díaz, marketing director for Gamesa, said his company is excited to be partnering with UMaine for blade testing. “North America was a logical place to conduct this important step in our product development, supporting our growing commercial opportunities in that region and globally. We were impressed by the testing quality, safety and attention to detail provided by the UMaine team in successfully testing our blade,” added Díaz.