Dec 17, 2022

How do wind turbines spin during winter? The science behind frozen blades

Posted by in categories: energy, physics, science, sustainability

Building a wind power operation that can thrive in icy conditions requires a keen understanding of the underlying physics.

Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power — the winds are more potent, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.

Frequent severe icing can cut a wind farm’s annual energy production by over 20 percent, costing the industry hundreds of millions.


Even light icing can produce enough surface roughness on wind turbine blades to reduce their aerodynamic efficiency, which reduces the amount of power they can produce, as Texas experienced in February.

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