Research project on performance of ice detection methods

Our project manager in research and innovation, Charles Godreau, has received a three-year research grant for $96,000 to quantitatively evaluate the performance of the most commonly used ice detection methods in the wind industry.

The project makes use of both direct methods such as ice detectors and indirect methods such as dual anemometry and power loss measurements, though little has been discussed or written on the performance or reliability of these techniques.

Despite the challenges associated with cold climates for wind farm operations, project installations in such climates are not expected to diminish. As a matter of fact, the coldest regions present certain advantages for developing wind farms: low populations, strong winds and high air density. In light of greater ice formation at higher elevations, ever-larger turbines and the fact that wind farms are frequently sited in complex and mountainous terrain, ice accretion on turbine blades is an increasingly common issue.

The results of this project will represent an invaluable source of knowledge for the development of wind farms in cold climates, as they will shed light on current uncertainties in ice detection methods and thereby help optimize energy production. The project will also contribute to lowering operating costs and increasing the service life of wind turbines by reducing mechanical constraints caused by inefficient de-icing or an erroneous evaluation by detectors as to whether or not ice is present.

All ice detectors are installed either on one of Nergica’s operational wind turbines (2 MW) or on a 126 m met mast at the organization’s research site. The objectives being pursued by the research project are the following:

  • Quantify the performance of ice detection methods using real data from detectors installed on turbines or met masts;
  • Quantify the uncertainties of ice detection and detectors;
  • Suggest the most reliable ice detection methods for the wind industry and the most suitable methods for Quebec’s cold climate;
  • Standardize ice detection methods.

This research project is also consistent with the objectives of the International Energy Agency’s “Task 19” working group on wind energy in cold climates, a working group on which our colleague Charles Godreau represents Canada. The aims of this project represent a priority for this group and Nergica is determined to fill the information gaps currently observed in studies conducted to date.

It should be pointed out that this project has received a grant from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies in the context of the Research Program for College Researchers.

For further information on the project, do not hesitate to contact Charles Godreau.

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