Gamesa to launch nanotech de-icing solution

SPAIN: Gamesa is set to launch a new nanotechnolgy-inspired solution designed to mix with paint and prevent ice developing on blades.

The system, which has been dubbed Bladeshield, was created out of the Azimut project to develop a 20MW turbine. It can be used on both Gamesa's 2.5MW and 5MW turbines.

Gamesa is also working with Finnish company VTT to develop another ice prevention product for its 5MW platform that can work in sub-zero temperatures.

The Bladeshield solution contains material that utilises nanotechnology and is applied by mixing it with the blade's paint. In addition to preventing ice formation, Gamesa said it can also boost the paint's resistance to erosion.

It is currently available both as an option on Gamesa turbines, and to other manufacturers depending on the paint they wish to use.

Gamesa said the solution is based on the modification of the surface with the aim of bringing through the hydrophobic property of the solution. The "hydrophobic effect" describes the separation of oil and water into two components, leading to a beading of water on surfaces.

At the moment, Gamesa does not know the lowest temperature at which the solution can remain effective. "We have tested its use with de-icing devices and found that the combination with our anti-icing solution reduces energy consumption," the company said. "However, we cannot provide data about the minimum temperature where the solution is able to work alone. It is something that we expect to test and verify this year."

Gamesa chief technology officer José Antonio Malumbres said: "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."

Enhancing turbines for cold-weather conditions has become a focus for a number of turbine manufacturers. Senvion (formerly Repower) has long offered turbines for cold conditions, while Vestas launched a de-icing product that uses a heating unit in the hub.