Wind energy is one of the most eco-friendly and sustainale energy sources, contributing to delivering on the Paris Climate Agreement. Especially, in Europe wind energy has a significant annual turnover, creating thousands of job opportunities. Many wind turbines have been installed in cold climates due to their favourable wind conditions and low population density. However, the electricity generated is negatively affected by the icing, which lowers the energy production of the wind turbine and reduces its lifetime.
Innovation: EARTO member VTT developed an innovative heating technology, WIPS (Wicetec Ice Prevention System), which is currently commercialised by VTT’s spin-off Wicetec. It has a unique worldwide-patented heating and ice detection technology, enabling wind turbines running in icing conditions and maximising its renewable energy production only when needed. The heaters, made of a thin layer of carbon fabric heating elements, protect from icing the area critical to energy production.
Impact Delivered: VTT sold the IPR to Wicetec in 2014, who productised and standardised the technology, and made further developments. WIPS innovation has already been commercialized to Wicetec’s customers located in different countries around the world. WIPS can recover 90% of icing losses and reduces the cost of energy by 6 – 8 %. During the first five operational years, Wicetec’s sales have increased, reaching a total of €2M in 2019.