Innovation Challenges

Solving these technology innovation challenges will help drive down the cost of offshore renewable energy, with positive effects for the industry and UK economy. If your technology has the answer, get in touch via our contact form on the Innovation Challenges page.

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Innovation Challenges

Durable Ice Reduction Coatings

Issue

Develop combined erosion resistant and durable icephobic coatings.

Wind turbines in cold climates are now being fitted with anti-icing systems.  However, the power requirements of current systems are not always sufficient to melt the ice at certain temperatures, in particular at high liquid water contents (LWC) between 0 and -5°C.  Icephobic coatings can form part of the anti-icing system by reducing the adhesion of the ice to the surface, and reducing the power required to melt and remove the ice.  Current state of the art methods include superhydrophobic coatings with ice adhesion strengths below 15kPa.  However, many of these expensive coatings have fragile microstructures which are not durable in the harsh erosive and dirt-laden environments, and do not protect during frost.

Do you have a potential solution?

Durable anti-icing systems can help protect offshore wind turbines from frost damage.

Apply now

Challenge

The proposed solutions for this challenge must be deployable without requiring changes to existing manufacturing and design of offshore wind turbines. 

Functional Requirements

  • They must work in conjunction with a heated anti-icing, pneumatic anti-icing and chemical anti-icing systems.
  • They must be effective in all types of icing condition; frost, freezing fog, freezing rain, snow etc

Technical Characteristics

  • Maximum ice adhesion strength 100kPa, but ice adhesion strength as low as possible
  • Minimum surface tension value compared to epoxy (45mN/m)
  • Minimum coating modulus
  • Maximum coating thickness, taking into account blade weight considerations
  • Temperature resistance -40°C to 50°C or higher dependent on the installed heated icing system
  • Rain erosion resistant – tested to ASTM G73 & ISO TS 19392- or -3
  • Meet ISO TS 19392-1 minimum requirements
  • Application by brush, spray or roller

Deployment Timescale

  • Validation of solution: within 6 months
  • Field trials: within 1-2 years
  • Commercial implementation: within 3 years

Operating Conditions

  • Ambient air temperature range of -10⁰C to 40⁰C
  • Relative humidity up to 100% 
  • Solar radiation intensity of 1000W m2

Cost Requirements

  • Similar cost to current LEP coatings, or low cost if used additionally to LEP systems

Do you have a potential solution?

Durable anti-icing systems can help protect offshore wind turbines from frost damage.

Apply now

Opportunities

Not all offshore wind farms are in high ice-risk areas. Offshore turbines situated in the Baltic sea, and other colder areas of the North Sea basin are susceptible however. Finland’s first offshore wind turbine was commissioned in 2017 and is the world’s first offshore farm to be specifically designed with icy conditions in mind. The market is set to grow as more wind farms are situated in the colder waters around Europe. 

From 2010 to 2016, wind turbine power rating has grown by 60%. In 2016, the average capacity of new wind turbines installed was 4.8 MW, a significant increase from 3.0 MW in 2010, reflecting a period of continuous development.  The first 8MW turbines have been in operation since late 2016. Offshore wind turbine blades now tend to be between 50 and 88m in length.


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