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De-Icing Industrial Wind Turbine Blades with Giant Drones

Icing is a problem for wind turbines, with some measurements reporting as much as 20% loss of efficiency due to the simple effect of icing on blades. (A 2011 article in Cold Regions Science and Technology takes a deep dive into many of the then-known – and unknown – variables that have been fueling the concern to de-ice wind turbine blades.) Heating the blades seems like an obvious solution but straight heat without any data to back it up is not as wise as it sounds in cold-climate conditions – so some companies have been turning to data and “algorithms” to back up their solutions. For blades where a proprietary heating solution isn’t available, or simply as a backup measure, de-icing the blades is the way to go. This has been done before with helicopters, which are both costly and pose their own risks. Latvian drone-solution company Aerones have been using their 170 lb. drone capable of a 400 lb. payload that has a tethered cable for both power and delivery of liquid solution to hard-to-reach places, making quick work of the de-icing process. Watch:


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