New wind turbine blade coating for enhanced lightning protection

The coating is designed to significantly reduce the prevalence of lightning damage to wind turbines.

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Wind turbines are often exposed to the risk of lightning strikes. This is a serious challenge for the wind energy sector, as lightning damage can cause costly repairs and downtime. It costs the wind energy industry well over $100 million annually.

The problem is expected to worsen in the coming years as the manufacturers continue building taller wind turbines and lightning activity increases due to climate change.

To address this issue, a novel lightning protection coating solution has been developed by Mankiewicz, a leading company in the coating industry. The coating is designed to significantly reduce the prevalence of lightning damage to wind turbines by enhancing the performance of the installed lighting protection system.

Arctura, a company based in South Kingston, is introducing this innovative technology to the US market, where it is expected to significantly reduce the losses caused by lightning strikes.

The ArcGuide coating is a polyurethane-based topcoat that incorporates a proprietary mixture of discrete elements. It is used on wind turbine blades near the lightning receptors to facilitate the formation of ionized channels over the surface of the blades during the build-up of a lightning strike. This ionized channel ensures a safe passage of the lightning charge through the air to the lightning receptor and onto the ground via the down conductor and prevents any damage to the blade.

The ArcGuide coating is now a part of the Mankiewicz BladeRep portfolio of high-performance coatings. According to the company, this coating has superior durability and effectiveness in protecting the blade from harsh elements and multiple lightning strikes.

“This blade coating breakthrough addresses one of the most important pain points felt by wind farm operators,” said Arctura CEO Neal Fine. “We are very pleased to be working alongside Mankiewicz, the top coatings manufacturer in the industry. Wind farm operators are more than ready for this product to be on the market and will be pleased to know that it is being offered by a trusted manufacturer known for its durable and effective coatings.”

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