Theme group 6: Cold Climate

​In Sweden today we have an increase in wind power projects in areas with cold climates. Even though at least 20GW of wind power is installed in cold areas internationally, knowledge is based more on experience than scientific evidence. So far, the focus of the cold climate research has been in forecasting, detection of ice and de-icing equipment. Cold weather and icing can cause production losses and reduced service life of the wind turbines and it is therefore important to gain more insight into how to use the machines in a cold climate.
Operational experience from wind power in the four northernmost counties shows that cold climate and icing causes low availability and lower efficiency during the winter. In winter 2010/2011 and 2013/2014, there were standstills which can be clearly linked to technical problems when operating at low temperatures. Much of the planned development is located in the region where the cold climate must be taken into consideration and the turbines have to be developed and adapted to the prevailing climate. Cold climate means an environment with risk of icing or temperatures below the operating temperature of the turbine. Today, there is uncertainty among suppliers of wind turbines concerning the possibilities of supplying plants with adequate technology for cold climates. If these problems cannot be resolved the rate of expansion of wind-generated electricity in the four northernmost counties will be compromised.
In terms of research the focus for cold-climate research has been on the forecasting and detection of ice and the development of de-icing equipment. In Stage 1, theme group 6 worked on initial studies of the effectiveness of the de-icing systems and models to simulate them. Equipment to indicate the ice has also been studied in smaller projects. De-icing systems, measurement techniques for the identification of ice and measuring equipment need to be developed to cope with the difficult environment that cold climate and ice causes. Looking ahead, there is the potential to move forward with these projects, and to include the study of loads and dynamics caused by ice.
Issues within Cold Climate are:
  • Which sensors are reliable and necessary for operating a wind turbine in a cold climate? 
  • What is the best technique for “de/anti-icing”? 
  • How is wind turbine production maximised in cold climates? 
  • Which simulation tools are necessary to simulate icing and de-icing? 
  • How should we model the dynamics and evaluate the loads due to icing? 
  • How can availability and reliability be increased for wind turbines operating in cold climates?

The following projects within the Centre fall under Theme group :
TG6-2 Efficiency and influence of heating device on wind turbine blades
TG6-21 Increased reliability of heating systems on wind turbine blades

Published: Mon 01 Feb 2016.