Icing Can Cost Wind Turbines Up to 80% of Power Production

Wind turbine blades can collect ice nearly a foot thick (30 cm) on the three-foot-wide tips of their blades. Did you realize those blades are 3-ft (about one-meter) wide?

Researchers led by Iowa State’s Hui Hu studied wind-turbine icing in the field to learn in real-life terms how and where ice accumulates on rotating blades.

Researchers studied icing on this wind farm in eastern China. Photo courtesy of Hui Hu/Iowa State University

Wind turbine blades spinning through cold, wet conditions can collect ice nearly one-foot thick on the three-foot-wide tips of their blades, the researchers found.

That amount of ice affects blade aerodynamics and disrupts the balance of the entire turbine. Unfortunately, that loss of balance can disrupt energy production by up to 80 percent, the study showed.

Hu wanted to conduct his field research in Iowa, where some 5,100 wind turbines produce more than 40% of the state’s electricity (according to the U.S. Energy Information Association).

However, he was refused access to those turbines (energy companies usually don’t want their turbine performance data to go public), so instead arranged to do his research at a ridgetop windfarm in China.

The researchers used drones to take photos of 50-meter-long (164-ft) turbine blades after exposure to up to 30 hours of icy winter conditions, including freezing rain, freezing drizzle, wet snow, and freezing fog. Did you realize those blades can be 2, 3 even 4 times longer than the typical house?

The photographs showed, “While ice accreted over entire blade spans, more ice was found to accrete on outboard blades with the ice thickness reaching up to 0.3 meters (nearly 1 foot) near the blade tips,” the researchers wrote in a paper published online by the journal Renewable Energy.

Who is Hui Hu?

Hui Hu comes with some impressive credentials. Not only is he Iowa State University’s Martin C. Jischke Professor in Aerospace Engineering, he is also director of the university’s Aircraft Icing Physics and Anti-/De-icing Technology Laboratory.

Hu has been doing laboratory studies of turbine-blade icing for about 10 years, including performing experiments in the unique ISU Icing Research Tunnel.

“But we always have questions about whether what we do in the lab represents what happens in the field,” Hu said. “What happens over the blade surfaces of large, utility-scale wind turbines?”

We all know about one thing that recently happened in the field. Wind power and other energy sources froze and failed in Texas during last month’s winter storm.

If I am correct about our imminent descent into the next little ice age, I fear that our increasing dependence on so-called  “renewable  energy” must inevitably lead to the death of millions.

More here:

Thanks to Bill Sellers and Marcus for this article

“Better plant those wind machines farther south, for the ice build-up will drastically reduce energy output let alone muck up our views!” says Marcus. “Meanwhile, they plan to build wind farms out in the ocean off the north east coast. I guess they didn’t read about what happened in Texas!”

“Battery back up? First they need to produce more energy than needed before they can waste electricity charging expensive batteries that will have to be replaced in 7 to 10 years.”

10 thoughts on “Icing Can Cost Wind Turbines Up to 80% of Power Production”

  1. It is remarkable how the mythology of renewable energy just keeps on rolling along. And if it wasn’t for the willingness of the MSM to frame everything in terms of COVID and Climate Crisis, this all would have long since gone away.

    If there is ANY group of people that deserve to be tried for “crimes against humanity,” it is by far, the main stream media. Without their willing support, 90% or more of the bad things that have happened to mankind since the end of the 19th century would not have happened.

    Can we all donate to the purchase of Devil’s Island, build a 30 foot wall completely around the island, post coast guard vessels and anti-aircraft batteries around it so no one can get in or out, and just dump all these people that would destroy us there? Give them what they need to start and sustain themselves, and just get them out of our lives.

    I have never believed anyone but God had the right to decide if a man or woman should live or die, but if I could just make sure they don’t live among us, I would gladly let Him deal with them when He is ready. Those and all the rest of the NWO that think the world is theirs, not everybody’s.

    • “We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.” David Rockefeller – 1991

  2. The Myths of Green Energy – Charles Hugh Smith

    1. All “renewable” energy is actually “replaceable” energy, analyst Nate Hagens points out. Every 15-25 years (or less) much or all of the alt-energy systems and structures have to be replaced, and little of the necessary mining, manufacturing and transport can be performed with the “renewable” electricity these sources generate. Virtually all the heavy lifting of these processes require hydrocarbons and especially oil.

    2. Wind and solar “renewable” energy is intermittent and therefore requires changes in behavior (no clothes dryers or electric ovens used after dark, etc.) or battery storage on a scale that isn’t practical in terms of the materials required.

    3. Batteries are also “replaceable” and don’t last very long. The percentage of lithium-ion batteries being recycled globally is near-zero, so all batteries end up as costly, toxic landfill.

    4. Battery technologies are limited by the physics of energy storage and materials. Moving whiz-bang exotic technologies from the lab to global scales of production is non-trivial.

    5. The material and energy resources required to build alt-energy sources that replace hydrocarbon energy and replace all the alt-energy which has broken down or reached the end of its life exceeds the affordable reserves of materials and energy available on the planet.

    6. Externalized costs of alt-energy are not being included in the cost. Nobody’s adding the immense cost of the environmental damage caused by lithium mines to the price of the lithium batteries. Once the full external costs are included, the cost is no longer as affordable as promoters claim.

    7. None of the so-called “green” “replaceable” energy has actually replaced hydrocarbons; all the alt-energy has done is increase total energy consumption. This is what’s called Jevons Paradox: every increase in efficiency or energy production only increases consumption.

    Here’s a real-world example: Building another freeway doesn’t actually reduce congestion in the old freeway; it simply encourages people to drive more, so both freeways are soon congested.

    Read the full article here:

  3. the size of the blades is limited by their transportation method – the base where they attach to the turbine is about 6 feet diameter, the widest part is about 8 feet wide because it has to totally sit inside a railroad car as it goes under a bridge. They’re as long as two railroad cars.

    Trains carrying windmill blades wake me up at 3am going from the port to West Texas. They have to make a 120 degree left turn on the railroad tracks in my town, it’s fun to watch the train crawl at 5mph because if they go any faster, the blades will fall off the train.

    And not a damned bit of those fiberglass blades is recyclable- it’s all going to end up in a landfill in 20 years, which is their stated lifetime. It takes more energy to create, move, and install a windmill blade than it will ever generate. It’s the same with hybrid car batteries.

  4. off balance blades damage the rotor assemblies
    and heaven help anything nearby if/when the ice loosens and flies off

  5. When you add up the unreliability, the huge material requirements and the burden on the grid, Wind power is a big net loss in terms of every metric of which you can think.
    The only factor keeping Wind in business is a corrupt government enriching corrupt oligarchs, at the expense of ratepayers and taxpayers.

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