Vestas says it has successfully tested a full-scale ‘stealth’ rotor on a turbine, paving the way for wind power plants to be located near many military, airport and other radar systems without interfering in their operations, according to the company.
The stealth turbine solution uses a portfolio of radar-absorbing materials that are integrated into the current manufacturing processes for turbine components and can be designed to operate at aviation and maritime frequencies. These modifications do not affect the performance or appearance of the turbines, which meet current visual standards, according to the company.
The stealth turbine test, which was conducted by Vestas at a U.K. customer site with technology partner QinetiQ, is part of an ongoing research collaboration that began in 2006. Preliminary test results, announced at the International Wind and Radar Forum in Ottawa, Canada, showed that a Vestas V90 turbine with a stealth rotor achieved a targeted reduction in radar cross-section of approximately 99%, or 20 decibels, compared with standard turbines.
‘This is a critical step toward the commercialization of stealth turbines and holds potential to open a significant number of wind power locations for Vestas customers,’ says Finn Strom Madsen, president of Vestas Technology R&D.
With an estimated 20 GW of wind power capacity currently blocked worldwide by concerns about radar interference, Vestas' stealth turbine research has validated a potentially important addition to the operational, technical and political mitigation tools available today, according to the company.