Ingeteam is currently working with the University of Castilla la Mancha (UCLM), on research into advanced de-icing techniques for the prevention of the accumulation of snow and formation of ice on wind turbine blades. These measures to combat adverse weather will result in greater profitability for wind parks as they will help avoid uncontrolled stoppages of wind turbines located in low-temperature zones.
Avoiding stoppages in wind turbines during the winter months of snow and ice means significant energy and cost savings. Research undertaken by Ingeteam Service detected that, in 517 wind turbines, with a total installed power of 682 MW, and solely due to blades icing up, 18,966 MWh were lost over a period of 29 months, a loss practically equivalent to all the other major stoppages together (change of multiplier, turbine change, and so on). Extrapolating this to a national (Spanish State) level, with more than 21,000 MW installed, this phenomenon would be equivalent to a loss of more than 550 GWh of power production and, thereby, to about 45 million € over every 29 months. Avoiding these production losses would be equivalent to the energy consumption of 200,000 households and savings of 658,682 Tn of CO2.
The systems being developed by Ingeteam prevent accumulation of ice and snow on wind turbine blades, thus avoiding stoppages thereof. To date the stoppages are necessary for the safety of workers and to avoid possible imbalances that might damage components of the turbine’s power (drive) train.
The project, known as Icingblade and with a budget of half a million euros, is being subsidised by the INNPACTO 2012 call, a research call financed by the Ministry with FEDER funds. Ingeteam is leading the project in which the University of Castilla La Mancha is also actively taking part.