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article imageAnti-icing system for cold-climate wind turbine markets debuts

By Karen Graham     Feb 6, 2018 in Technology
At the cold climate conference WinterWind in Sweden, Vestas introduced an advanced anti-icing solution to boost the business case for wind power plants in cold climates by removing ice build-up on turbine blades.
Aarhus, Denmark-based Vestas is a manufacturer, seller, installer, and servicer of wind turbines. It was founded in 1945, and as of 2013, it is the largest wind turbine company in the world.
Using technology to create in-house solutions, Vestas unveiled its new anti-icing system at the WinterWorld cold-climate conference in Sweden. The company notes the system is geared toward cold-climate installations, and it is looking at a combined market in Canada and the Nordic countries that could total 14.6GW of new build between 2018 and 2026.
The Vestas anti-icing system is based on electro-thermal heating elements embedded in the laminate directly below the blade’s surface. The control system has different operational modes that allow the heating elements to separately create the optimal heating level, increasing effectiveness and minimising energy consumption.
The system gives fast and targeted anti-icing action and is designed to operate both in rotation and standstill, thereby being applicable from low to high ice severity. Vestas says the reliability of the anti-icing system ensures a minimum of 90 percent production retention in cold climates.
Research is underway to insure that wind turbine component parts will continue to live up to their f...
Research is underway to insure that wind turbine component parts will continue to live up to their functional life of over 20 years.
Vestas Wind Energy
How the Vestas Anti-icing System works
The wind turbine's central controller manages the system's heat elements. Using power from the generator, the controller can read power curve data to detect when ice is impacting performance. The controller can heat up the elements based on the level of performance being lost and the location of the ice buildup on the blade.
"[Electrothermal elements] give some key benefits, one of which is a more equally heated distribution across the element," said Vestas senior project manager, Daugbjerg Nielsen.
"Another benefit is that you can apply different heating modes. One of the key challenges with these types of system has been the power consumption. How can you have a good balance of power consumption in the system so you don't waste too much energy?"
"Another benefit is the serviceability. If one of these heating elements breaks down due to an 'outside-in' event — for example, if something hit a blade and damaged a heating element — the rest of the anti-icing solution can still function throughout all the other elements," he said.
In addition to the Vestas Anti-Icing System, the company has also introduced a siting tool, Vestas Ice Assessment. The tool uses metrological models and algorithms to ensure an industry-leading accurate and precise ice assessment down to turbine level.
More about vestas, Wind turbines, Blades, antiicing system, electrothermal elements