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Call for projects: in-depth inspection of wind turbine blades

By ENGIE Green


  • SupAirVision

Call for project closed the 14|04|17

ENGIE Green, a subsidiary of the ENGIE Group, is looking for solutions that will make it easier to conduct in-depth inspections of wind turbine blades, by identifying defects related to the composite structure of the blade, while the equipment is operational.


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Suject of the call for project

Purpose of the call for projects:

To provide a solution for conducting in-depth inspections of wind turbine blades in operational situations.

The solution we are looking for could be a method, a product or a combination of solutions that enable us to inspect composite blades across their entire thickness: surface paints (gelcoat, topcoat), fiberglass, polyester and epoxy resins, Balsa sandwich or foam material, glue.

By in-depth inspections, we mean defects related to the composite structure of the blade: cracks, lamination coming off, parts being unglued, dry spots, foreign objects in the material, folds, etc., on the surface and a few centimeters in.

Such inspections may need to be carried out while the equipment is on-site; the proposed solution needs to be mobile, so that an operator can inspect blades that have already been mounted. In the medium term, the solution would need to be sufficiently portable so as to be installed on a drone (either flying or rolling) and piloted from the ground.

Deadline for applications: April 14th, 2017

Earnings and benefits

Rewards and benefits:

Selected projects will:
  • Get specialized support from ENGIE Green and its partners in order to finish developing the solution, business partnerships and operational projects,
  • Be put in contact with experts from the ENGIE Group,
  • Get to test and demonstrate their project on-site,
  • Be promoted in ENGIE’s French and international communications campaigns.

Description of the call for projects

Detailed description:

ENGIE Green, a subsidiary of the ENGIE group, is launching a call for projects to identify innovative solutions for conducting in-depth inspections of wind turbine blades.

Several blade inspection solutions already exist, but because they only observe surface defects, they are of limited use for uncovering the full range of issues that can arise with wind turbine blades.

In addition to the points explained in the preceding paragraphs, the solution could also feature the following:
  • easy access (via a basic internet platform) to data from the inspection: all of the defects observed (type, dimensions, position, image, etc.) and not just a report
  • capacity to monitor defects (change over time for defects and repairs conducted)

We expected to gain from in-depth inspections by:
  • increasing operator safety by carrying out inspections from the ground or without physically going inside the blades. This could happen either via sensors embedded on drones, robots or rovers.
  • reducing operating and maintenance costs, identifying internal defects (e.g. in composite and bonding) as soon as possible and dealing with them preventatively rather than curatively: preparing for repairs, managing maintenance based on the weather (and therefore reducing production losses).

The solutions we are looking for will have to be innovative in the broad sense of the term and will need to include one or more of the following innovative aspects: new detection technologies, digital technologies, etc.

These technologies should be mature enough to be field tested (TRL 5+).

Eligibility criteria:
  • Suitability to the subject matter
  • Originality/innovative character of the project
  • Development potential (= usability beyond blade inspection for other materials)
  • Movability
  • Environmental footprint (balance of materials used in terms of pollution and recycling)
  • Cost/feasibility and economic sustainability
  • Maturity/time to market

Selection process:

The selection process will have 2 steps:

  • Phase 1. a shortlist will be established based on applications submitted
  • Phase 2. Each short-listed project leader will be invited to give a 60-minute presentation for the selection committee on May 2nd and 3rd, 2017.At the end of these presentations, the committee will select the winning project.

Provisional timetable :

  • 17.02.2017: launch of the call for projects.
  • 14.04.2017: application deadline.
  • 28.04.2017: submitted projects examined and shortlist created.
  • 02-03.05.2017: shortlisted projects pitch for the Selection Committee
  • 15.05.2017: final decision and winner announced

Selection committee and partners of the call for projects:

ENGIE Group: ENGIE FRANCE Renouvelables ENGIE Green - ENGIE Fab (Labs + New Venture)

ENGIE places responsible growth at the heart of its businesses (electricity, natural gas, energy services) to address the major challenges of energy transition towards a low-carbon economy. The Group accompanies these changes by putting innovation at the heart of its customer strategy.

ENGIE Green has developed a unique skill set in the development, construction and operation of wind and solar power plants. The company runs 58 wind farms (810 MW installed) as well as the two largest photovoltaic parks that the ENGIE Group has in France, supplying the equivalent of 800,000 people with green energy.

One of ENGIE Green’s goals is to be a reference for operational and industrial excellence in the production of renewable electricity. We achieve this by implementing innovative operating and maintenance solutions.
With 14 sites across France, ENGIE Green – a subsidiary of the ENGIE Group – is a leading player in renewable energies in France. Its 180 employees work with local actors to develop tailor made, ambitious projects that bring out the potential in local areas.
ENGIE Green has developed a unique skill set in the development, construction and operation of wind and solar power plants. The company runs 58 wind farms (810 MW installed) as well as the two largest photovoltaic parks that the ENGIE Group has in France, supplying the equivalent of 800,000 people with green energy.
ENGIE Green is also fully committed to developing renewable marine energies, notably with the projects for floating wind farmer farm off Leucate in the Mediterranean and a pilot hydroelectric plant at Blanchard in Basse-Normandie.
ENGIE Green is also developing innovation in remote monitoring and distance operatation of its power plants. Its teams are in charge of the Renewable Energies Management Center (based in Châlons-en-Champagne), a unique, innovative tool that oversees the Group's wind and photovoltaic assets in France and Europe.

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