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€ 5 million for realtime blade monitoring startup Fibersail that enhances safety and performance in wind turbines

Blade maintenance is by far the most complex and costly aspect of wind power generation. Currently, there is no reliable way to monitor the exact condition of the rotor and blades. Wind turbine operators need to inspect their blades regularly to ensure asset availability, optimization and lifetime. Fibersail has developed a shape sensor that is applicable and easy to install in any type of wind blade. Fibersail’s technology means higher reliability and productivity and a longer life for wind farms. It means a revolution in the energy transition.

Wind farms undervalued due to lack of measurement tool

Wind turbines now use a wind meter that only measures wind speed, but not the load on (parts of) the blades due to, for example, a different wind direction. With blades larger than 100 meters, 15% to 20% deflection at the tip is possible (with a chance of hitting the tower). So, there is a lack of reliable control of blade loading. This leads to increased O&M costs, shorter lifespan and lower valuation of wind farms due to the risk of failure.

Moving towards predictive maintenance monitoring

Fibersail has developed a shape sensor that is applicable and easy to install in any type of wind blade. This gives wind turbines and wind farms greater reliability and productivity as well as a longer lifespan. In time, Fibersail wants to move toward a control and predictive maintenance model, which will allow for power performance strategies and estimation of when turbines need maintenance.

Fibersail focuses on the shape of the blade

By using their proprietary shape sensor technology, Fibersail, unlike current solutions, focuses on the deflection of the blade rather than the root tension, allowing manufacturers and operators to design and operate better performing wind turbines. Fibersail technology makes this possible by accurately controlling and monitoring the behavior of the blades, thus contributing to the EU vision of becoming climate neutral and energy independent.

“With a passion for wind energy and background in high performance sailing, my entire life was spent on understanding how to generate the best energy performance by using wind power. During the first years of Fibersail, I was amazed with the lack of information regarding the conditions and operations of wind turbine blades and the multi-billion euro cost it was generating every year. Now, together with our strong team of deep- and greentech investors, we are disrupting the way these wind turbines are controlled and maintained,” says Pedro Pinto, co-founder and CEO.

Sliding shape sensor based on fiber optic technology

The idea of measuring the shape and deformation of blades came to life with the development of a sliding shape sensor system based on fiber optic technology. After 10 months of operational testing, Fibersail has reached a major milestone, demonstrating that the system is capable of tracking and monitoring the performance and fatigue cycles of the blades throughout the life of the asset. With the technology, Fibersail aims to disrupt the wind turbine market.

The Fibersail headquarters will be situated in Rotterdam. The sales and business development teams will operate from this location and will interact with the offshore wind ecosystem to develop and roll out its solution. Strengthening the offshore wind ecosystem and driving down the cost of wind energy. A lower cost for wind energy is needed for the Greater Rotterdam-The Hague Area, as it will become a major part of the energy mix in the region.

“With the investment in Fibersail, we invest in sustainable and affordable energy for everyone,” says Berend Potjer, deputy of the Province of Zuid-Holland. “Oil, gas and coal have had their day as sources of energy. Zuid-Holland is building a cluster of knowledge institutions and companies that tap into natural resources. Because of the climate crisis, rising gas prices and the war in the Ukraine, a switch is more urgent than ever. These are inexhaustible resources, such as wind, solar, tidal and geothermal. With this industrial conversion, we will keep large-scale activity in South Holland and therefore the associated employment.”

The Fibersail solution has a very interesting application for the highly advanced  sensoring and fiberoptics ecosystem in the Netherlands. Thus also contributing to this cluster.

Jasper Geselschap

Senior Investment Manager ENERGIIQ