The DeICE-UT project will overcome the current limitations of existing wind turbine blade de-icing systems by developing an innovative dual de-icing system combining both high power ultrasonic guided waves and low frequency vibrations. Previous work on helicopter blades has shown that low frequency vibrations are highly effective at de-icing across the blades except at the leading edges, whilst the application of ultrasound (US) shows very good de-icing where the US power is high. The DeICE-UT project will apply these two technologies in combination to wind turbine blade applications, where the synergistic effects of these two technologies both prevent ice accumulation and remove already formed ice. To achieve high ultrasound powers within the required regions of the blade, guided wave US technologies will be utilised. By doing this, DeICE-UT will provide a solution that will enable the safe and reliable operation of wind turbines in adverse weather conditions and achieve the following benefits:
- Significant reduction of downtime for ice-prone sites across the EU leading to increased efficiency and reliability of the wind turbines resulting in increased income for wind turbine operators.
- Significantly reduced maintenance and increased component lifespan, leading to reduced maintenance costs for wind turbine operators.
- Significant reduction of energy to operate system – 2% of turbine power output for DeICE-UT compared to >12% for other systems.
- Significant increases in the number of wind turbines located in extreme climate regions, leading to reduced residential complaints as the ice prone sites are also sparsely populated.
- Significantly reduce the danger of accidents resulting from ice thrown from the blades.
The SME consortium target a significant penetration of the EU market within a 5 year period, achieving sales of ~ Eur71.5 million and creating ~ 175 jobs. Implementation of the technology across the EU will make a significant contribution to increasing the renewable energy share and reducing CO2 emissions.
It is now widely recognised that the burning of fossil fuels is leading to global climate change. As a result, the EU is committed to leading the global efforts to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted by reducing energy usage and increasing the proportion of energy that is generated from the renewable energy.
A draft version of the EC Renewable Energy Directive was first published in 2008. It was finalised as 2009/28/ECi through the European Parliament in 2009. Through its introduction the European member states agreed to strive towards the implementation of renewable energy production. The ultimate goal is to reach an energy production mixture with 20% coming from renewables, throughout Europe by the year 2020. Although the directive is still to be passed as national law in every member state, all EU members have agreed in principle to increase their share of renewable energy so as to achieve 20%.