Preventing ice build up -- Blade research (1)

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Danish blade maker LM Glasfiber is partnering with two Quebec research labs to develop a surface treatment to reduce the formation and build-up of ice on wind turbine rotors. The partnership, which includes the Murdochville-based Corus Centre and Quebec university's Laboratoire des Faisceaux d'Ions, is focusing its efforts on developing a process that combines ion implantation and UV radiation to prevent icing. Implanting ions would modify the chemical properties of the blade surface to the depth of a few nanometres. The research is also designed to find a way to scale up the treatment, which would be applied as an additional finishing operation after the blade is made, for industrial use. LM Glasfiber operates a blade manufacturing plant in Quebec's Gaspésie region. "Adapting wind turbines to cold climate conditions such as the severe North American weather represents a considerable potential," says Jesper Månssom, the company's research manager. "The development of an anti-icing treatment process will in particular help extend the lifetime of installations and wind turbines."

It will also help reduce the impact of icing on turbine operation, says Redouane Megateli, the Corus Centre's scientific director. "The build-up and spread of ice on the blades cause the blades to be less aerodynamic and also cause many other problems such as increased vibrations, mechanical stresses and fatigue. Depending on the frequency of ice build-up and the severity of the icing, these phenomena can cause significant production losses."

LM Glasfiber will fund the project and provide samples of blades and exterior panelling for the tests. The initial phases of the project will take place over the next year or so.

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