Why Do Wind Turbines Catch Fire?

Many times wind turbines are installed to help produce wind energy and save the cost of electricity produced with the help of other sources.

However, wind turbines are likely to cause fire and if left unchecked, can lead to huge amounts of losses.

In this article, we would learn about how wind turbines work, and further, we would understand the problem of fires in wind turbines and look at the solutions with which the risk of fire can be mitigated.

How Do Wind Turbines Work?

Wind turbines utilize wind energy, which is often also equated with kinetic energy and thermodynamics.

The wind turbines or blades are attached to a generator that helps produce electricity, often passed on with the help of a grid.
Some of the most crucial factors in determining whether wind energy is adequate are the help of wind speed, patterns, and weather conditions of the area in which the wind turbines are placed.

Wind turbines can be commonly found in most countries today.

However, it is noticed that wind turbines are usually found on the outskirts of a town or village, this is because these are the areas where most amounts of land are easily available.

And due to no major constructions around, these wind turbines get the space to turn wind into energy.

You would commonly come across either horizontally-axis wind turbines or vertical-axis turbines. The concept of working is quite the same in both, and so is the output generally.

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People prefer one over the other based on the design and layout preferred according to their needs.

Although there are several important components in the wind turbine, some of the most important ones include the transformer, brake, converter, cabinet, and blades. Using these, the wind turbines are formed and help turn wind into energy.

Most of the people who install wind turbines often have to deal with fires. These fires are most commonly caused due to natural causes or mechanical failures. It is important to understand the causes of the fire and how one can solve them.

Wind turbines fire cause a lot of damage, let us now understand the problem behind them and what can be done as a solution.

Why Do Wind Turbines Catch Fire?

Problem

Probably the main reason why wind turbines catch fire is because of certain mechanical defect that ignites and leads to fire.

This fire spreads to the plastic first and then to the nacelles around.

Most all fires in wind turbines would first start around the nacelle as they are the places where ignition takes place.

It often spreads around the converters or cabinets as well.

It is noted at times that wind turbine fires are also caused due to the transformer and brake of the turbine.

The cabinets are required for variable frequency and since they possess such an important part in the turbine, their malfunctioning and fire can often lead to a great loss to you.

This is why even a small electrical error in these parts is not good for your turbine and can easily lead to a fire.

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The nacelle brakes are also another major cause of the fire as they work to stop the motion in the turbines in a very short period.

Due to this high energy transmission, they are more prone to technical faults and produce a huge amount of heat. This is why they are most prone to catch fire as well.

In a nutshell, fire in wind turbines is usually caused by the failure of one or more components that generate a tremendous amount of heat and lead to sparking and eventually turn into a fire that burns the plastic and blades surrounding it.

Sometimes the fire can even reach the gearbox and can be caused by other weather calamities like a thunderstorm, lightning, excessive rain, storm, etc.

Due to the persistent risk of a fire breakout in the wind turbines, it is crucial to know how we can resolve the possible fire situation in the wind turbines.

Let us now see what can be done about it.

Solution

It is evident that wind turbines are not a cheap product and even on insurance, their repair and reconstruction may cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For wind turbines installed on multiple acres of land, this cost may even range from a few million dollars.

The best mechanism to avoid a fire breakout is to install a suppression system in the turbine so that it can automatically detect a possible fire situation and curb it at the initial stage itself.

This way, the damage is minimized and the fire does not spread to a great extent.

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The good thing is that these systems can be installed anywhere in the turbine, which means you can ensure protection at the most probable places in the turbine.

In case you are worried about the excessive cost of the suppression system, a few sprinkler protection systems may be suitable for you, however, only in cases where the wind turbines are smaller, this method may have opted.

You may also take the help of the local authorities and the government in managing the wind turbines and seek additional help from them to protect them.

With the appropriate steps, insurance, and systems in place, you do not have to worry about anything.

Conclusion

Thus, in this article, we learned that wind turbines are extremely prone to catch fire, especially due to mechanical failures and other natural causes.

In such cases, it is important to not only save costs but also to ensure that the damage can be minimized.

In case you are not an expert in setting up the wind turbines yourself, it would be ideal to call a repair agency or look to seek the help of the local government to get the wind turbines to function well again.

With the help of the right set of setups and regular maintenance, you cut down the chances of wind turbines catching fire.