Defining, analyzing and determining power losses - due to icing on wind turbine blades

University essay from Mälardalens högskola/Akademin för ekonomi, samhälle och teknik

Abstract: The wind power industry is one of the fastest-growing renewable energy industries in the world. Since more energy can be extracted from wind when the density is higher, a lot of the investments made in the wind power industry are made in cold climates. But with cold climates come harsh weather conditions such as icing. The icing on wind power rotor blades causes the aerodynamic properties of the blade to shift and with further ice accretion, the wind power plant can come to a standstill causing a loss of power, until the ice is melted. How big these losses are, depend greatly on site-specific variables such as elevation, temperature, and precipitation. The literature claims these ice-related losses can correspond to 10-35% of the annual expected energy output. Some studies have been made to standardize an ice loss determining method to be used by the industry, yet a standardization of calculating these losses do not exist. It was therefore interesting for this thesis to investigate the different methods that are being used. By using historical Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) data for two different sites located in Sweden, a robust ice determining code was created to identify ice losses. Nearly 32 million data points are being analyzed, and the data itself is provided by Siemens Gamesa which is one of the biggest companies within the wind power industry. A sensitivity analysis was made, and it was shown that a reference dataset reaching from May to September for four years could be used to clearly identify ice losses. To find the ice losses, three different scenarios were tested. The three scenarios use different temperature intervals to find ice losses. For scenario 1 all data points below 0 degrees are investigated. And for scenario 2 and 3 this interval is stretching from 3 degrees and below versus 5 degrees and below. It was found that Scenario 3, was the optimal way to identify the ice losses. Scenario 3 filtered the raw data so that only data points with a temperature below five degrees was used. For the two sites investigated, the annual ice losses were found to lower the annual energy output by 5-10%. Further, the correlation between temperature, precipitation, and ice losses was investigated. It was found that low temperature and high precipitation is strongly correlated to ice losses.

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