New measuring equipment to predict icing on wind turbines

Save favourite 5 Mar March 2018
Staffan Rydblom, PhD at STC, at the newly installed measuring equipment on Åreskutan. Photo: Johan Åström Söderlind; STC.

With the help of measuring equipment installed on the top of "Åreskutan", the problems of icing on wind turbines can be solved. The equipment measures microscopic water drops, wind speed and temperature. About a third of the world's wind power capacity is in a cold climate where ice formation on rotor blades is a problem.

- It is an equipment with imaging technologies and advanced sensors that measure small drops of water so that we can see when there is a risk of icing on wind turbines, power lines or roads. With our equipment we can measure water droplets as small as a few milliliters in diameter, says Staffan Rydblom, PhD at STC.

In order to determine icing conditions and forecast icing, one needs to know the amount of atmospheric water in the form of subcooled drops and their size. Today, you estimate this because it is difficult to measure. The purpose of the research is to find a cost-effective technique to detect the parameters and conditions that cause icing.

The measurement method is based on an image system with a high-efficiency LED as backlighting. Measurement data will now be collected over two months and then there will be a time of analysis and processing. The goal is for the measuring equipment to be on the market in the future.

- With the research with this measuring technique, you could start the de-icing system earlier in a wind turbine - before the ice causes poorer production, damage to the plant or a danger to the public as ice clumps can be detached, says Staffan Rydblom.

The measuring equipment is part of the SMART research project and has been developed in cooperation with SMHI Sundsvall and Combitech in Östersund.

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