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De-icing ultrasonic guided wave and vibration system

DeICE-UT: Wind turbine blade anti/ de-icing, combined ultrasonic guided wave and vibration system


It is now widely recognised that the burning of fossil fuels is leading to global climate change. As a result, the EU is committed to leading the global efforts to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted by reducing energy usage and increasing the proportion of energy that is generated from renewable energy. A significant share of this renewable energy supply comes from wind power. While it is a well-established technology, there are a number of recurring problems which need to bead dressed to improve safety and efficiency – one of these is ice build-up on turbine blades.


The DeICE-UT project will overcome the current limitations of existing wind turbine blade de-icing systems by developing an innovative dual de-icing system combining both high power ultrasonic guided waves and low frequency vibrations. The first will create high power ultrasonic guided waves with power densities of at least 1W/cm2 and frequencies of 20 to 200KHz in the blade that will shatter the ice – composite bond. The second will use low frequency (0-500Hz) controllable shakers that will vibrate the structure with accelerations that may exceed30g, in order to shake and crack the ice off. Both of these active elements will be mounted on the inside of the blade on locations that will be determined during the project. Previous work on helicopter blades has shown that low frequency vibrations are highly effective at de-icing across the blades except at the leading edges, whilst the application of ultrasound (US) shows very good de-icing where the US power is high.The DeICE-UT project will apply these two complementary technologies in combination to:

  • stop ice from gathering on wind turbine blades during adverse weather conditions
  • remove any ice afterwards – to ensure ice-free operation even if ice accretion rate is very high.


  • Reduction of downtime for ice-prone sites across the EU leading to increased efficiency and reliability
  • Reduced maintenance and increased component life span, leading to reduced maintenance costs
  • Reduction of energy to operate system – 2% of turbine power output for DeICE-UT compared to >12% for other systems
  • Increase in the number of wind turbines located in extreme climate regions, leading to reduced residential complaints as ice prone sites are also sparsely populated
  • Reduce the danger of accidents resulting from ice thrown from the blades.

Project Partners

  • TWI
  • BS Rotor Technic (UK) Ltd
  • DTK Electronics
  • Floteks
  • Selftech
  • Smart Material
  • Turkiye Ruzgar Enerjisi Birligi
  • Zachodniopomorski Uniwersytet Technologiczny W Szczecine
  • Brunel University London


For more information, please visit the DeICE-UT website.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Tat-Hean Gan
Professor Tat-Hean Gan - Professional Qualifications CEng. IntPE (UK), Eur Ing BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronics Engg (Uni of Nottingham) MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering (University of Warwick) MBA in International Business (University of Birmingham) PhD in Engineering (University of Warwick) Languages English, Malaysian, Mandarin, Cantonese Professional Bodies Fellow of the British Institute of NDT Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology Tat-Hean Gan has 10 years of experience in Non-Destructive Testing (NDT), Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and Condition Monitoring of rotating machineries in various industries namely nuclear, renewable energy (eg Wind, Wave ad Tidal), Oil and Gas, Petrochemical, Construction and Infrastructure, Aerospace and Automotive. He is the Director of BIC, leading activities varying from Research and development to commercialisation in the areas of novel technique development, sensor applications, signal and image processing, numerical modelling and electronics hardware. His experience is also in Collaborative funding (EC FP7 and UK TSB), project management and technology commercialisation.

Related Research Group(s)

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Project last modified 12/10/2023