Lightning usually hits the sharpest and tallest object in an area because ground charges emitted from objects with high elevations reach the opposite charged streamers of the cloud earlier than the charges from any shorter object. On the other hand, lightning current aims to reach ground by following the shortest and most conductive way. That’s the reason; a tall structure such as a wind turbine in a wind farm is vulnerable to the effects of a direct lightning strikes.
If reliable supply is to be maintained it is important that the design and installation of a lightning protection system (LPS) for the wind turbine be done correctly.
Wind Turbine and Lightning
With the growing awareness of the global warming and the limits to our fossil based fuels, the need to find better renewable source of energy is becoming apparent. The use of wind energy is a rapidly growing industry. Over the past few decades, the number of wind farms has grown dramatically, beginning with the first large (utility-scale) wind farm installed in California in 1980. By 2008, the U.S. installed capacity reached 25.4 GW and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the installed capacity of wind power in the U.S. reached 74 GW.
Lightning is particularly likely to strike wind turbines due to their exposed location, height and complexity. As lightning strikes often cause considerable material and economic damage; thus understandably, most wind owners and operators breathe a sigh of relief when a major storm passes their wind farm without damage to a turbine.
Lightning protection system for Wind turbine
The chief objective of a lightning protection system is to prevent lightning from damaging the rotor blades, bearings and electrical systems.
When planning lightning protection measures, not only cloud-to-earth flashes, but also earth-to cloud flashes, so called upward leaders must be considered.
This is where LEC’s IPG (Ion Plasma Generator) comes into picture
During lightning conditions, the IPG acts as the most attractive object in the protected area by using the storm’s energy to develop dense corona plasma. As the electrical field grows, this highly charged corona becomes more attractive, drawing strikes safely to the IPG and preventing damage to valuable assets.
Unlike traditional collectors that often fail to exert enough attractive influence on approaching strikes, the IPG’s materials and construction are optimized for maximum risk reduction on a cost effective and durable design.
IPG is a crucial component in ensuring the best lightning protection to a wind turbine. For any further questions or queries, contact us!
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