Development of structure integrated planar heating element using fibre-reinforced composite materials

Development of structure integrated planar heating element using fibre-reinforced composite materials

There is a huge market potential for solar PV and wind turbines in cold climate regions. Especially more than 70% of wind farm is under construction in the heavy cold climatic regions in Sweden by 2020. Moreover, by 2019 cumulative investments in solar PV in Canada is expected to exceed $11 billion. However, ice build-up poses a number of problems for wind turbines and solar PVs in cold climate (mainly performance degradation). For example, up to 20% performance losses and 10% fatigue load increase for wind turbines in cold climate regions can occur due to the changes of blade surface geometry from ice build-up.

Our Aim

This project is an international collaborative research project together with Korea Institute of Energy Research. The main objectives of this research are to develop:

  1. a new structure integrated light weight planar heating element
  2. a novel ice detection sensor with multi-channel thermocouple array technology

Our research group is responsible for developing a novel ice detection system based on multi-channel thermocouple array sensor. Conventional ice detection method for a wind turbine, as an example, is only able to detect overall ice accretion by measuring power deviations between measured and manufactures’ power curve. This method requires long time to detect the ice resulting in increment of safety risk from ice throw, fatigue loads due to mass imbalance, and power production loss. On the other hands, the proposed method in this project is working on detecting latent heat of fusion which is the unique physical phenomenon during the ice event by measuring real time temperatures on the structures. It is a very quick response time since it will detect immediate temperature changes due to the latent heat of fusion. Furthermore, it is very robust and cheap system compare the other existing ice detection techniques. 

Our Research

Our research is sponsored by Korea Institute of Energy Research. In this project we use T-type thermoelement which offers high accuracy in the -40 to 125 ℃ temperature range. N by M array sensor will be developed and tested under various icing conditions. Moreover temperature maps will be introduced to measure temperature variations on the structures.

Our Outcomes

From this project, it is expected to develop a high accurate, robust, and cheap ice detection sensor. The developed ice detection sensor will be coupled with the planar heating element. Finally, an entire cold climate package (detection and de-icing) will be introduced.