Franklin-type lightning rods protect wind turbines against direct lightning strikes. But complete lightning protection in accordance with IEC 61024-1 only comes through the use of a custom built lightning protection design system such as LEC’s manufactured and patented IPG (Ion Plasma Generator).
Inside 20 years, the U.S., Europe and Japan have the potential for generating up to 40% of their electrical needs from wind energy. With the trend toward larger wind turbines, the cost/kWh for generating electricity continues to drop. As a result, many countries are developing and constructing wind farms. Even older wind turbine projects are being re-furbished and upgraded with larger turbines.
Unfortunately, today’s larger high-tech wind turbines are more vulnerable to lightning strikes, particularly in storm-prone areas.
The cost of not adequately protecting wind turbines from lightning can become a significant drawback to the benefits of the technology. In at least one recorded case, a turbine blade was completely destroyed by lightning. Because the two remaining blades continued to rotate, the resulting unbalance twisted the tower, causing it to collapse. The total loss of the wind turbine system cost the owner more than $1 million.
Therefore, for wind power to continue to grow it’s imperative that they be protected from lightning.
Lightning protection design system is the solution
For years the focus of Lightning Eliminators & Consultants, Inc. has been on researching the science of strike collection. From this research the company developed a collection system process: the Ion Plasma Generator (IPG).
The patented Ion Plasma Generator is a highly effective air terminal engineered for applications where lightning prevention is not practical, but that still require reliable protection from direct strikes. In order for lightning to reach earth, the electrical field between the storm cloud and ground must grow strong enough to overcome the insulating effect of the air between them. When this occurs it triggers a lightning strike, which in turn balances the electrical charge.
The IPG collector creates a corona plasma or dense massive flow of attractive ions. During operation, the IPG directs the corona plasma upward to capture any direct lightning strikes. All are captured in the last few milliseconds of the lightning’s trip to earth. The dense plasma presents a far more attractive force than the wind turbine blades or any other form of streamer. The IPG strike collector is effective up to 320 ft. Compared to a single lightning rod of the same height; the IPG provides a collection zone several times larger.
LEC is successfully installing and maintaining IPG lightning protection design system to wind farms across the world.
Lightning Eliminators & Consultants, Inc. (LEC) serves its clients by installing and maintaining lightning protection systems (LPS), and prevention solutions. Equipped with over four decades of experience, LEC has provided successful support to over 90 countries and throughout the United States.