Blade Contamination's Impact on Wind Turbine Power Production

What is blade contamination, how does it occur and what impact does it have on wind turbine performance?

Published October 17, 2023


Blade contamination is the accumulation of external materials like dirt, insects, or ice on the blade surface. It tends to be most severe (and aerodynamically important) on the leading edge. Contamination disrupts airflow, reducing blade efficiency, which reduces power production. Blade contamination is mainly caused by:

1. Insects and bugs

2. Contaminants in the Air

3. Ice and Frost

All of these issues reduce the aerodynamic efficiency of the blade by causing local flow disturbances or by fundamentally changing the shape of the blade if the accumulation is severe.

Addressing blade contamination is crucial for optimizing power production in wind turbines. Regular blade inspections and campaigns to combat these challenges are needed to ensure maximum performance.

Vortex generators are an important tool to mitigate the negative impacts of contamination and stabilize the power curve during cycles of changing blade surface conditions.  

👉Read more about our upgrade solutions to recover lost performance from e.g., contamination here