UK, Swedish Academics Study Wind Turbine Fire Incidents
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden and Imperial College London investigated fire incidents on wind turbines and released their findings under the title: “Overview of Problems and Solutions in Fire Protection Engineering of Wind Turbines”.
Authors of the study, S. Uadiale, E. Urban, R. Carvel, D. Lange and G. Rein, pointed out that the research was mostly based on information available in media and some organizations, due to lack of relevant data from scientific sources. This is especially a big issue in the offshore wind energy sector.
However, from the available data, researchers concluded: “The most commonly identified ignition sources (in decreasing order of importance) are: lightning strike, electrical equipment malfunction, hot surface ignition, and hot work maintenance.
“Lightning strikes on wind turbines have been identified as the most common ignition source. Offshore turbines operating in more challenging weather conditions, multi-megawatt onshore turbines with heights exceeding 100 m, and turbines located at high altitudes, all face a high risk of lightning strike which could result in fire ignition. The fire risk dramatically increases when an adequate lightning protection system is absent or has not been maintained.”
In their report, the authors gave guidelines for fire protection, both active and passive, with details of implementation.
Read the study findings here.