Bladed celebrates its 20th Birthday

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Vienna/Austria -- At the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) Conference in Vienna, GL Garrad Hassan marked the 20th anniversary of the launch of Bladed, the wind turbine design software trusted and used by manufacturers and certification agencies around the world. Over the last two decades, as commercial wind turbines have grown in scale, from 500kW to over 7MW, GL Garrad Hassan wind energy experts have ensured that Bladed continues to meet the increasingly complex technical challenges faced by wind turbine designers.

GL Garrad Hassan pioneered the development of design tools for wind, wave and tidal energy devices and Bladed is now recognised as the industry standard design tool for wind turbines with 450 licences held by 250 clients worldwide. The majority of Bladed users are turbine manufacturers, with the remainder being made up from component suppliers, certification agencies and consultants, Bladed has been used to analyse hundreds of turbine designs and thousands of installed turbines.

Bladed was introduced in February 1993. Since then the tool has been under continuous development. In 2000, the ability to calculate wave and current loads was added and since 2002 a linearization module has allowed linear state space models to be exported in control algorithm design. 2006 saw the introduction of multiple-member offshore support structure capability, as large offshore turbines began to be mounted in deeper water on structures such as jackets and tripods.

As the code requirements for the electrical grid became ever more stringent, the Bladed team responded to the needs of the industry with the release of the Electrical dynamics module in 2010, which allowed for the detailed analysis of events such as grid faults and low voltage ride through. Additionally, the structural dynamics at the very core of Bladed were updated, as the explicitly defined equations of motion were replaced by a general multi-body dynamics formulation. This further improved the accuracy and robustness of the simulation results and was a vital step in enabling offshore floating turbines to be modelled in Bladed.

As the needs of the industry evolve, so too will Bladed. Currently, work progresses on developing the engineering model and the user interface. With additional options for offshore floating and bottom mounted turbines, including work on both the modelling of moorings and improved hydrodynamics, planned as updates to the Engineering model. User interface developments will include improved batch handling, multiple calculation setup, post-processing and data visualisation.

Dr Andrew Garrad, founder and Chairman of GL Garrad Hassan said: “It is an amazing feat of intellectual achievement to take a gigantic complex machine excited by an equally complicated wind flow, turn it into a mathematical model, solve the equations and find that the answers predict reality. That’s what Bladed has been doing in more and more sophisticated ways for the past two decades - giving the wind industry confidence to develop by leaps and bounds, not only in size but in complexity. And it is set to continue to support the renewables industry’s stunning engineering imagination as it creates even more exciting forms through the next two decades and beyond.”

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