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Framework and result of our research

Wind power utilization in Austria faces the challenges of ice formation on wind turbines due to climatic and geographic conditions.

Under meteorological conditions such as freezing fog or freezing rain, ice buildup can occur on wind turbine (WTG) rotor blades. When this ice detaches from the rotor blade surface, the ice fragments that fall or are thrown away in this way can pose a safety risk to the surrounding area. Due to the climatic and geographic conditions at Austrian wind energy sites and the high population density, the icing of wind turbines is a great challenge, especially in Austria, even more so if one considers the expansion of renewable energy aimed for in the future.

Although research efforts in recent years, especially within the framework of the international research cooperation IEA Wind Task 19, have made great progress in the understanding and knowledge of the icing of wind turbines, the available data on the frequency, number and properties of the falling ice pieces is still unsatisfactory. Part of this problem is that system icing is always a function of local site conditions (meteorology, system operating mode). When assessing the risk of ice fall in the context of official approval procedures for wind power projects, it is therefore often necessary to rely on simplified estimates.

The R.Ice project has therefore set itself the goal of answering the existing questions in connection with the icing of wind turbines with special consideration of the specific Austrian requirements and conditions.

The main objectives of the R.Ice project were

  1. The modeling of an Austria-wide map of icing meteorology and its comparison with measurement data and wind turbine operating experience.
  2. The observation of ice fall events at wind turbines using a stereo camera system in order to obtain a database for the number, size and flight trajectories of the falling ice fragments.
  3. The regional designation of icefall identification areas by modeling the impact probabilities of the ice pieces and assumptions about the whereabouts of people in the vicinity of the wind turbines.
  4. The development of technically and legally sound measures and guidelines for dealing with ice fall risks.

Project duration was from April 2016 to June 2019