Effect of Atmospheric Ice Accretion on the Dynamic Performance of Wind Turbine Blades
Alsabagh, Abdel Salam
Atmospheric icing presents serious challenges to the development of wind power of the wind energy industry in cold regions. The potential detrimental impact on the safe operation of wind turbines and the energy harvest hasn’t been fully understood and requires further investigation. This thesis presents the research on icing profiles under different weather conditions and their impact on natural frequency, fatigue life, and lift and drag of the wind turbine blade. The research aims to develop a further understanding of the effect of atmospheric ice accretion on the structural integrity and aerodynamic performance of wind turbine blades through numerical and aerodynamic investigations to address the challenges facing the industry. A 5-MW NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) wind turbine blade was selected for this study, due to availability of required geometric design parameters and experimental data for verification. The turbine rotor and its three blades were modelled and numerically simulated with commercial finite element software ANSYS. Three icing scenarios were chosen according to the ISO Standard and the corresponding icing profiles were developed to investigate their influence on vibrational behaviours of the wind turbine blade and rotor under different weather conditions. Icing loads were applied on the leading edge of the blade and natural frequency results were compared between clean and iced blades. It was found that harsh icing weather drove the natural frequency down to the near resonance limit, which could lead to significant issue on structural integrity of the wind turbine. The effect of atmospheric ice accretion with additional load due to varying wind speeds on the fatigue life of the wind turbine blade has been investigated. Significant reduction of fatigue life was found due to the increase of the von Mises stresses. Finally, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis was carried out to investigate the effect of atmospheric ice accretion on the aerodynamic performance of typical 1-MW and 5-MW wind turbine blades. Results of the drag and lift coefficients and power production under different icing scenarios were obtained for five angles of attack. Compared with the results of the clean aerofoil profile, remarkable reduction in the power generation was observed due to the accreted ice at various aerofoil sections in the spanwise direction of the blade, demonstrating the detrimental impact of atmospheric icing on energy harvest for the wind energy industry.