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Drones Protect Wind Turbines from Ice

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Coating drone during a spray test: the coating material is applied by the drone via a lance.

“Drones that are only used when needed offer a cost-effective alternative,” said Andreas Stake, project manager at Fraunhofer IFAM.

Credit: Fraunhofer IFAM

Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) developed a method to protect wind turbines from ice using drones.

Fraunhofer IFAM's Andreas Stake said, "Drones that are only used when needed offer a cost-effective alternative" to heating mats integrated into the blades, systems that pump warm air into the rotors, or the use of helicopters to apply de-icing agents.

The researchers developed a coating material comprised of urea and wax and an airless pump system that can spray the mixture with precision in 35-kph winds.

They used fluid dynamic simulations to determine the optimal pressure and droplet size and an efficient atomization method.

Testinf showed the urea/wax mixture adheres well, dries quickly, and guards against frost formation.

From Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (Germany)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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