Evaluation of Ice Detection Systems for Wind Turbines, Part I: Status Quo, User Experience, Recommendations

Project Number 392

Atmospheric icing has a significant impact on the development and the operation of wind parks. Ice disturbs the aerodynamics of the rotor blades and thus causes production losses and increased noise emissions. Moreover, the additional ice loads may lead to extreme loads and increased fatigue. Iced wind measurement sensors at the wind turbine’s nacelle may lead to erroneous behaviour and security stops. During project development, wind measurements are disturbed by icing resulting in a higher uncertainty of the calculations of annual energy production and a higher cost of investment. Finally, ice throw and ice fall from the iced wind turbine rotor blades represent a significant safety risk for passersby and service personnel.

An optimized and efficient operation of wind parks under icing conditions has become a very important issue for the operators. Today, many promising approaches exist to tackle these issues, but there is still a considerable lack of reliability of the technical equipment as well as practical experience.

Development and operation of wind parks under icing conditions still has a pioneering character as standards and guidelines as well as technical solutions for planning and operation of wind parks under icing conditions are under development.

The project is structured into the following steps and tasks:

  • The physical and meteorological basics of ice accretion and its effect on wind turbine operation will be described.
  • A table with existing ice detection systems will be compiled and a detailed evaluation of each ice detection system will be carried out.
  • Survey among VGB-associated wind-turbine operators. The experience of the operators will be included in the study and will be the guide to further investigations.
  • Forecasts of icing for the next days based on numerical weather models in combination with dedicated ice detection systems might become a useful complement for optimizing the operational strategy of wind parks under icing conditions. The basic principles of icing forecasting as well as the current state of the art and the main needs for further development will be discussed.
  • Workshop for dissemination and discussion: The purpose of this event is to discuss the project results identifying key challenges and limitations which require further R&D from the operator’s point of view as the basis of part II of the project.

The project realisation will be supervised by the VGB Technical Committee Wind Energy.