How to get more out of your wind turbine in ice and snow

2024-01-15 Renewable energy

Since the late 1990s and early 2000s, the importance of wind energy has increased significantly in European countries such as Germany, Spain, the UK and Denmark, as well as in North America. In mid-2000, the Chinese government also began to strongly support wind energy.

Today, the wind energy sector is primarily determined by a global trend: Governments are cutting subsidies for wind energy and, as a result, yields per kWh have fallen sharply.

In response to this development, onshore wind farms are increasingly being built at higher altitudes, as average wind speeds are higher there. However, this also requires better productivity in cold or icy weather conditions. Numerous worldwide studies report losses of between 10 and 20% in icy conditions. One of the biggest problems is that the wind speed and wind direction sensors at the top of the nacelle fail or malfunction in icy conditions. In addition, investors are demanding cost reductions from wind turbine manufacturers.

schutzsensoren für Windkraftanlagen

With this in mind, KRIWAN offers the first real ice-proof, fully patented series of mechanical wind sensors: the KRIWAN INT10/30 ICEfight product family. This is THE solution to provide the industry with a real attractively priced alternative to very expensive ultrasonic sensors and is the world's first mechanical sensor that actually prevents icing due to freezing rain or in icy conditions.

The ISO defines four different types of ice formation, mainly caused by either precipitation or ice formation in clouds (Rindeskär 2010): Glaze (superfreezing wetness), Rime (hard/soft) (rime ice), Wet snow (wet snow) and Hoar frost (hoar frost).

The world's first mechanical sensor that actually prevents icing caused by freezing rain or in icy conditions

With conventional mechanical wind sensors, only the bearing in the sensor housing is heated and an attempt is made to spread the heat around the sensor into the mechanical part to prevent the sensor from failing in icy conditions. However, there are numerous unheated areas, especially in the moving part. The heating is insufficient to prevent the sensor from operating in ice and freezing rain.

To overcome the problem of conventional wind sensors with heated bearings described above, KRIWAN has developed its patented INT10/30 ICEfight wind sensor series, which uses a completely different heating system. The heating is now integrated into the moving part of the sensor (cup star and vane) and generates heat where it is needed most via a high power density wireless connection. The new ICEfight wind sensor has a heat output of 120 W. It was designed in conjunction with industry experts and selected wind turbine manufacturers to protect the system against freezing rain and icing and to make it resistant to any ice formation.

The Kriwan ICEfight series also provides the best supporting data to the wind turbine via the self-regulating heater to ensure safe operation. It constantly provides accurate and stable data about the wind turbine in icy conditions. In addition, KRIWAN offers stable, high measurement accuracy over the entire measurement range compared to ultrasonic sensors with best-in-class EMC characteristics. This complete offering from KRIWAN improves power efficiency and power generation, improves efficiency for operators, increases service life, and reduces wind turbine downtime. Thanks to various mechanical mounting options, the sensors are easy to retrofit and therefore also represent a good, cost-saving solution for older wind farms.

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