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Thermal effects and anti-icing efficiency of an icing protection system for large wind turbines

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  • Full or part time
    Prof J Wang
    Dr D Venetsanos
    Dr Y Lin
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

The abundant wind resource in cold and high altitude regions in the world is attractive to wind energy technologies. However, in cold weather climates, ice can form on the blades of wind turbines, causing an uneven distribution of mass, reduction in aerodynamic performance, excessive vibration, damage to bearings, dangerous break-off ice, control system failure and increased maintenance costs (Lamraoui, et al., 2014, Hochart et al., 2007, Ilinca et al., 2013, Villalpando et al., 2012, Broeren, A. P. et al., 2008). Combination of those effects reduces the life of a turbine and its energy generating capability (Fortin, et al., 2005). Even though this is a severe problem, there is no commercially available solution for wind turbine operators to combat the problems of icing. According to Fakorede et al., (2016), current used and tested anti-icing system consumed too much power and could possibly exceed the nominal output of the wind turbine itself, making the anti-icing system inefficient. Therefore, innovative and cost-effective anti-icing or de-icing systems are needed to enhance affordable, reliable and clean wind energy in these regions. (Hochart et al., 2008, Jasinski, et al., 1998, Jha, et al, 2002)

This project is part of a bigger project to design, test and implement an innovative and hybrid icing protection system, i.e. a combination of both active and passive anti-icing system. Such system could potentially provide an effective way of combating ice accretion on wind turbine blades (Fakorede, et al., 2016). The active system will utilise the heating resistance method, in combination with the passive system-utilising hydrophobic and super-hydrophobic material properties to lower ice forming temperature and reducing effort to anti/de-ice. Heating resistance is one of the widely tested and most effective techniques exploited for anti-icing (Parent & Ilinca, 2011). However, in most cases, the power required for the heating system is more than the power produced by the wind turbine (Fakorede, et al., 2016), which is why a hybrid system could prove to be both effective and energy efficient making deployment of wind energy more attractive in cold weather regions.

Currently the blade of the wind turbine is made of composite material, which is not an efficient heat conductor and would not withstand very high temperature. The first focus of the project is to investigate thermal effects of the heating system incorporated in the turbine blade using Finite Element Method to predict heat transfer rate and surface temperature distribution. Therefore, the surface temperature would be correlated to the efficiency of heat elements.

Then, the anti-icing efficiency of an icing protection system will be investigated by studying the different arrangements of heating elements, changing the distance of heating elements to blade surface, varying surface temperature and employing different heating strategies.

The project will be suitable for candidates with sound engineering background, strong analytic and mathematics skills, and experimental experiences. Candidates with a good first degree in engineering-based subjects are essential. MEng degree and/or MSc are desirable.
Successful candidate will join a large multidisciplinary Faculty and experienced research group with simulation and experimental experiences.

Funding Notes

There is no funding for this project: applications can only be accepted from self-funded candidates


• Broeren, A. P. et al., 2008. Effect of High-Fidelity Ice Accretion Simulations on the Performance of a Full-Scale Airfoil Model. Reno, Nevada, 46th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit.
• Fortin, G., Perron, J. & Ilinca, A., 2005. A study of icing events at Murdochville: conclusions for the wind power industry. Magdalen's Island, International Symposium “Wind Energy in Remote Regions".
• Fakorede, O., Ibrahim, . H., Ilinca, A. & Perron, J., 2016. Experimental Investigation of Power Requirements for Wind Turbines Electrothermal Anti-icing Systems. In: A. G. A. a. A. Tahour, ed. Wind Turbines - Design, Control and Applications. s.l.:InTech, pp. 325-340.
• Hochart, C., Fortin, G. & Perron, J., 2007. Icing Simulation of Wind-Turbine Blades. Reno, Nevada, 45th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit.
• Hochart, C., Fortin, G. & Perron, J., 2008. Wind Turbine Performance under Icing Conditionds. Wind Energy, Volume 11, pp. 319-333.
• Ifrah, et al., 2017, Effects of ice Accretion on wind turbine, AE7000 – MEng Group Design Project (Aero) Final Group Report.
• Ilinca, A., 2013. Analysis and Mitigation of Icing Effects on wind Turbines. In: A. B. a. C. Maynez, ed. Modelling Ice Accretion and its Effects on Wind Turbine Blades. Canada: Novapublisher, pp. 177-214.
• Jasinski, W. J., Noe, S. C., Selig, M. S. & Bragg, M. B., 1998. Wind Turbine Performance under Icing Conditions. Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, Volume 120, pp. 60-65.
• Jha, P. K., Brillembourg, D. & Schmitz, S., 2012. Wind Turbines under Atmospheric Icing Conditions - Ice Accretion Modeling, Aerodynamics, and Control Strategies for Mitigating Performance Degradation. Nashville, Tennessee, 50th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition.
• Lamraoui, F. et al., 2014. Atmospheric icing impact on wind turbine production. Cold Regions Science and Technology, Volume 100, pp. 36-49.
• Parent, O. & Ilinca, A., 2011. Anti-icing and de-icing Techniques for wind Turbines: Critical Review. COld Regions Science and Technology , Issue 65, pp. 88-96.
• Villalpando, F., Reggio, M. & Ilinca, A., 2012. Numerical Study of Flow Around Iced Wind Turbine Airfoil. Engineering Applications of Computational Fluid Mechanics, 6(1), pp. 39-45.

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