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Use of Renewable Sources Such as Solar Or Wind Energy

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Due to the ambitious worldwide targets to eliminate the use of fossil fuels and to increase the use of renewable sources such as solar or wind energy there have been many studies into the locations most suitable. Due to amount of space required to install these systems and the absence of conventional sites, where a wind turbine farm does not disturb the environment or the local residence visually or aurally, non-conventional sites are being investigated are used like cold climate locations such as South Greenland. Hudecz (2013)

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In cold climates, structures such as electrical cables, antennas and wind-turbines are subjected to severe weather conditions. At sites where the temperature is frequently below the freezing point of water and have high humidity for a long periods of time, ice can accumulate which can compromise the structural integrity and performance of the structures Hudecz (2013).

The performance of an iced wind turbine degrades rapidly as ice accumulates, ice can degrade the structural performance by adding mass to the blades which can cause failure by bending, fatigue and other modes of failure. Icing can cause excess vibration due to the uneven accumulation of ice which can cause damage. Icing can also cause control equipment to fail causing performance issues. There is also a big risk of ice shedding which is the loosening of ice from blades which can cause injury to maintenance personnel or surrounding structures. (Battisti, 2015)

Aside from these technical challenges which must be faced in relation to wind turbines in cold climates, there are many technical benefits at these sites, the amount of energy produced from a wind turbine is directly proportional to wind speed. Wind speed rises with altitude, but the wind turbines are exposed to severe conditions at higher altitudes. In these sites there are no obstructions like tall buildings which can block or redirect the wind causing a decrease in performance. Due to the lower temperatures there is an increase in power produced due to the higher density of the air. Yip, Gunturu and Stenchikov, (2017)

The original research idea was “The effects of icing of aircraft wings”. The question originated when I was travelling over the Christmas period 2018 to Lithuania where it was -5°C at the time of flying. The flight was delayed for 45 minutes, I spent most of the time looking out of the plane window, where I saw the wings being de-iced under high pressure with what I presumed was some sort of de-icing solution, it didn’t seem like it was a lot of ice build-up, but if the plane was delayed that meant either it was for safety reasons or it had big impacts on the aerodynamic performance. After many consultations with lecturers and research online it proved difficult to model as the conditions vary very rapidly, whereas wind turbines are generally located in one place where the atmospheric characteristics can be identified and implemented.

During the research phase it was found that many studies have been conducted on the topic, but all lacked critical aspects like mesh and turbulence model studies, which were conducted in this study but were interrupted by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Nearly all the studies conducted were lift based, meaning there was limited data for drag, this study looked both at lift and drag but it was difficult to verify the drag results.

The aim of this project is to identify and quantify the effects of icing on wind turbine blades, by choosing the appropriate mesh and turbulence models and by analysing the lift and drag coefficients of the iced airfoils which will be compared to the clean airfoil. The flow field will be analysed to compare the different effects icing has on wind turbine blades and form ideas and answers to why icing effects the aerodynamics. This study can be extended to the original study idea (The effects of icing on aircraft wings) but can only be analysed at a certain point with known atmospheric parameters which are needed to replicate the conditions.

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