With a projected growth rate of 12 GW annually through 2020, wind power in cold climates is one of the fastest-growing areas of the industry and coping with blade icing is one of its biggest challenges. On top of obvious worker safety concerns, icing also leads to significant production losses, costing operators millions of dollars each year.
In a new article titled "Managing Blade Icing" published by North American Clean Energy, Vaisala discusses the environmental conditions that cause icing, such as freezing rain and cloud-based icing. We also present new research on the use of ground-based remote sensing technologies to detect icing above hub height where cloud conditions causing ice may go undetected by typical nacelle-mounted sensors.
The article provides background on a VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) study conducted at four sites across Finland, Norway, and Germany evaluating ice classes using different types of measurement equipment, including LiDARs and ceilometers.
While ceilometers are not a common tool in the wind industry, they provide very accurate readings of cloud height as well as cloud profiles to better understand the composition of clouds passing over the project site.
The ceilometers used in the study also proved best at collecting icing information, offering 100% data availability compared to LiDAR, which had only 55-80% availability.
To learn more, please contact the co-author at her email below or read the article here.
Francesca Davidson, francesca.davidson[at]vaisala.com