Blade soiling reduces power production

Did you know that blade soiling reduces wind turbine performance

Published November 16, 2023


The accumulation of dust and dirt on wind turbine blades, known as soiling, is more than just a surface-level concern. It's a gradual process that decreases power performance over time. As soiling increases, it will negatively modify the airflow  over the blade and reduce wind turbine performance. This will lead to reduced efficiency in capturing and converting wind energy.


Aerodynamic Challenges and Power Reduction

Soiling doesn't stop at surface alteration; it can go deeper “modifying” the shape of the turbine blade and cause drag which will lead to reduced power output.

At PowerCurve, we specifically observe that certain Indian regions suffer from soiling due to dust and dirt accumulation during the dry season. This is referred to as “sticky-dirt” which results in a severe stall behaviour and AEP-loss. Different scenarios such as ice, bugs and airborne particles can also cause this stall behaviour.


The Magnitude of Impact

We have seen different examples of soiling and have found that it has a significant impact on AEP, resulting in losses of as much as 5%. The severity of soiling plays a pivotal role in determining the AEP loss.


Addressing the Challenges

Acknowledging these challenges and putting in place effective maintenance and cleaning practices are critical measures in guaranteeing the continual reliability and sustainability of wind energy as a power source. Especially in regions like India, where airborne pollutants heighten the effects of soiling, the integration of vortex generators becomes a strategic initiative to recover energy losses.

Learn more about the advantages of vortex generators here.