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Development of a portable 3 Million Volt Lightning Simulator for testing of Wind Turbine Blades

The fully Modular 3 Million Volt Lightning Simulator used to test wind turbine blades

Lightning stroke can cause fatality structural damage, and could lead to malfunction of the electric equipment. As part of their expanding product offering, GLPS embarked on a Project, to design and build a fully portable (to be carried by a person), easy to construct 3 Million Volt Lightning Simulator. Global Lightning Protection Systems is a consulting engineering firm specializing in lightning protection design and verification testing.

Customer Requirements

The design demands were based on the concept of building a Marx generator (a type of Voltage Multiplier). The basic building block was to have 100kV “Stages”, which would consist of a HV Pulse Discharge Capacitor and other Components in a “tray assembly”. Each Stage could be carried by a person and each stage could be connected to the next, in order to be able to build up each stage in 100kV integers to the testing requirements. The need for a high energy density capacitor that is small, light and powerful was a main criteria.

Our solution

In order to enable the customer to have a small and portable stage, we were able to define and identify a 100kV Capacitor, to be modified to the design requirements.
This resulted in a customer specific Capacitor being developed with 0.5µF Capacitance and 100kV Charging voltage capability. This was packaged in a lightweight plastic case of 75cm x 18cm x 10cm for a total energy of 2500J stored energy. A long life, high reliability and to be physically robust and electrically capable to deal with the high peak current demands and voltage reversal characteristics of the circuit, were primary concerns and a design challenge, to maintain a compact and light solution.

Image: The fully Modular 3 Million Volt Lightning Simulator used to test wind turbine blades, show the individual stages

Our value

Due to the extremely high engineering knowledge of GLPS and the competency of AMS Technologies, it was a fast, efficient identification of the right supplier, for providing the highest energy density in the smallest package size and still guaranteeing the reliability and life performance required.
AMS Technologies background in Pulsed Power applications, allowed for the right solution to be devised in the smallest timeframe to fulfill GLPS design expectations and allow them to realize a portable 3MV Lightning Simulator for their testing of Wind Turbine Blades and other components.

Customer Statement

"AMS Technologies helped us with this design challenge, to maintain a compact and light solution with the high peak current demands and voltage reversal characteristics of the circuit." Dr. Soren Find Madsen, CTO at Global Lightning Protection Services A/S

Global Lightning is a consulting engineering firm specialized in lightning protection design and associated verification testing.
Their services complies state of the art numerical modeling of lightning and other electrical phenomena, design and construction of durable Lightning protection systems and full scale verification tests in our world class lightning laboratory. For more info visit www.glps.dk

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