Anti-icing systems have been very required in the last year.
It is not a hidden gem that Canada has one of the coldest winters in the world. Even more when we refer to the Atlantic provinces. In the last year, the weather has dramatically changed worldwide; summer and winter have been delayed, stronger and even unusual. We had at least three snowstorms on the Westcoast!
Why Do Met Towers Need Anti-Icing Systems?
First, let’s remember that met masts are tall skinny structures erected to measure wind speeds and other meteorological parameters in a specific location for the feasibility of a wind project. Various weather conditions during and after their installation, including icing, can affect these structures.
In one of our site visits, after just 24 hours, 1 cm of ice was built-up on one anemometer. This usually occurs between 2 to -7 degrees Celsius. When icing occurs, it accumulates across the structure, adding weight that can cause structural damage or collapse if not properly designed to handle the extra weight. Additionally, heavy ice accumulation on the anemometer or other instruments mounted on the mast can affect the measurements’ accuracy. This is the primary purpose of installing a met tower. We know this icing impacts the data, but what practical things can companies do to improve their sensors’ accurate performance in icy conditions?
Our priority is the safety of the met tower system under local conditions, with the goal of continuous precise resource data. Still, this localization has different impacts on structures in Atlantic Canada to icing in the mountains of BC. Our met equipment is installed in different parts of the country, so our systems are designed to operate under remote and grid-connected applications.
Some of these systems that Energy Canvas recommends are:
1. De-Icing Systems:
These systems can be electrical, using heaters or electric cables. The system works by measuring temperature, humidity and other icing conditions. They automatically turn the heating element on when it falls below a certain threshold. Although we tend to use electrical systems, they could also be glycol based. In this case, they will require a heat source like a boiler to provide the hot liquid. Both are considered active anti-icing systems because they need an external power source.
2. Anti-Icing Coatings:
Some specialized coatings are designed to reduce ice adhesion on the mast’s surface and make removing it easier. These coatings also help increase the shedding of the ice once it forms. Other materials like Teflon, silicone, and polyurethane are also considered passive anti-icing systems as those characteristics are inherited from their nature.
3. Ultrasonic Anti-Icing Systems:
Attaching minor vibration instruments, known as small vibration devices, onto the mast can trigger a chain reaction of oscillations. These can effectively shatter and thwart the accumulation of ice, a natural phenomenon referred to as surface tension.
To sum up, it is essential to consider all the variables to choose the right solution for your wind project. Nonetheless, given their prevalent use and reliability, we advise selecting electrical systems. With winter quickly fleeting and the coming of spring, we are already planning to help solve your iced data problems and mitigate this impact to improve weather data accuracy and dependability.
We have more than ten years of experience in wind energy projects, which has helped us understand and find the best solutions. Stay tuned to learn more about how icing challenges the installation of a meteorological tower and how we face those. If you need help with anti-icing systems, contact us or email us at email@example.com.