Preventing ice accretion in wind energy and aerospace applications

S. Beckford
SurfTec, United States

Keywords: ice, icephobic, anti-icing, ice adhesion, freezing precipitation, coating

SurfTec has developed an ice-phobic coating able to decrease ice-adhesion, withstand UV and weathering degradation and is designed to last for the life of the component on which it is deposited. This will revolutionize the Global Wind Turbine Market valued at $81 billion in 2016 and expected to reach $135 billion by 2023. Recent advances in ice-phobic coatings enable a decrease in ice adhesion, yet these coatings are not durable and must be frequently reapplied to be effective. Ice accretion on surfaces reduces energy efficiency in wind turbines, reduces lift and increases drag on airplanes, and cause powerlines to fall due to the added weight. In the wind turbine industry, ice is often left to accumulate on a rotary blade and results in the degradation of a turbine’s aerodynamic performance which can ultimately halt power production. Average annual losses due to ice accumulation on rotor blades are approximately 10% to 20% and are as high as 50% in winter months. Our innovation prevents ice formation on surfaces due to hydrophobic properties. Super-cooled water will run off the surface at tilt angles as low as 2.8 degrees and ice adhesion strength is reduced by a factor of 3.3.