Latvian company Aerones has developed an innovative way to not only extend the lifespans of giant wind turbines, but keep them running at optimum efficiency for as long as possible. The key is maintenance and the ideal method of maintaining these green giants is through the use of dedicated, specialized, super-sized drones.
Wind turbines of all sizes start out at 100-percent efficiency but much like that new car you bought off the dealer’s showroom floor, real world use immediately begins acting to degrade that level of efficiency. Among the chronic external factors affecting wind turbines are the accumulation of dust, dirt and insect debris on the blades.
Air pollution and humidity can affect the rate of accumulation, and uneven distribution of these contaminants can deleteriously affect the longevity of bearings. At worst, the imbalance can cause a massive blade to shear completely off, effectively destroying the turbine!
Chill Winds = Ill Winds
Short-term and sudden weather events can also play havoc with wind turbines, especially in far northern or southern climes. Snow, frost and ice can quickly build up on turbine blades – even if they melt away quickly, the damage they cause is irreversible. “It is known that good maintenance of wind turbines and, specially, of the blades can increase the efficiency as much as 20% or even as much as 100% in case of frost or snow on its blades,” states an Aerones spokesperson, and the most effective way to get up close and personal with these blades is via drone.