Gamesa, a global technology leader in wind energy, has developed a pioneering system for the prevention of ice formation on wind turbine blades. This solution, called Bladeshield, consists of an anti-icing ‘paint’ which not only prevents the formation of ice but also boosts the paint’s resistance to erosion, instead of reducing it as other solutions on the market tend to do.
The Bladeshield system is the result of the development of an innovative procedure for obtaining the mix, as the additive is dissolved first in the ideal dispersing agent and then in the paint base. This ultimately results in a homogenous mix that improves, even doubles, the paint’s anti-erosion and durability properties.
The solution was processed under the scope of the Azimut project for the development of offshore technology. This project is being sponsored by the CDTI (acronym in Spanish for the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology). This system is the result of three years of research into the use of new raw materials in wind energy, specifically the application of nanomaterials in the development of coatings.
Bladeshield, the company’s first anti-icing solution, is targeted at satisfying the growing need for systems that optimise blade performance and availability at wind farms located in cold regions.
This new system is apt for use in its own 2.0 MW-2.5 MW and 5.0 MW onshore and offshore platforms, as well as in other manufacturers’ products.
“Although Gamesa already had blade de-icing systems, it has developed this innovative solution in anticipation of the emerging needs of our increasingly sophisticated and demanding customers. Most of the anti-icing solutions on the markets studied within Azimut project reduce blade paint´s resistance to erosion. Gamesa has attempted to remain one step ahead, using nanomaterials to create a system that not only prevents ice formation but also improves anti-erosion performance”, said José Antonio Malumbres, Gamesa’s Chief Technology Officer.
In addition to this anti-icing solution, Gamesa recently unveiled two systems for detecting and eliminating ice on blades that have been custom-developed for Gamesa’s suite of 2.0-2.5 MW turbines. Gamesa’s portfolio of turbines includes products specifically configured and adapted for sites that undergo extreme weather conditions, including sub-zero temperatures. Against this backdrop, the company is also developing another ice prevention system in collaboration with Finnish technology provider VTT for its platform of 5.0 MW turbines.
Development of wind farms in cold climates is growing. EWEA forecasts that between 45 and 50 gigawatts of wind energy will be built in cold climates by 2017, 72% more than at year-end 2012. Gamesa has already established a presence in northern Europe, specifically in Finland, where it has signed two framework agreements with Tuuliwatti for the supply of 285 MW and 135 MW, and Sweden, where it has been contracted to supply four G114-2.0 MW turbines to Eolus Vind. Gamesa is also present in Canada and China.