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Lightning Protection And Rotor Blade Inspection: Enertrag Betrieb Offers Drone Inspection in France By 2023

Paris, France / Dauerthal - With the larger and taller wind turbines that are now being erected, the issue of lightning protection is of great importance.

Enertrag Betrieb GmbH offers the rotor blade inspection including lightning protection system (LPS) by drone (in short: drone inspection), which is now part of the company's standard repertoire, as a licensed model since autumn 2022, and from 2023 also for the French market. Here, lightning protection measurements on wind turbines are obligatory every two years since 2022.

Together with the Swiss company Sulzer & Schmid Laboratories AG, Enertrag Betrieb GmbH, which specialises in the operational management of RE plants and inspections, has combined rotor blade inspection and lightning protection measurement in a simple procedure using a drone. While a drone automatically flies over the rotor blades of the wind turbine, two processes take place simultaneously. A high-resolution camera takes pictures of the rotor blades and a field strength measuring device measures a realistic electrical voltage applied to the lightning protection of the blade root by means of a high-voltage generator along the blade.

With both methods it is possible to detect and precisely locate damaged areas on the blade and/or LPS. The method offers the advantage that it is not only faster than an inspection using rope access technology, but also safer and more cost-effective with increased quality. The procedure for measuring lightning protection has been verified by the testing company TÜV NORD and its quality confirmed. In addition, a patent for the lightning protection measurement process is pending.

By December 2022, Enertrag Betrieb had already successfully carried out more than 120 drone inspections in Germany. This experience is now being passed on to the French inspection teams.

"Basically, we proceed with the offer of drone inspections by ENERTRAG Exploitation in France in the exact same way as we do with external licensees. The inspectors in France are trained by the experts from Germany and receive all the necessary documents, for example tailor-made work instructions for LPS measurements on different types of turbines," explains Matthes Schachtner, Head of Technical Services at Enertrag Exploitation.

Source: IWR Online, Dec 12 2022