By Jack Williams
This intelligent invention looks to have discovered a whole new use for drones, using giant versions of the flying crafts to clean and de-ice giant WIND TURBINES.
Turbines can lose anywhere between one and 20 percent of their efficiency because of dirt buildup, and due to the large costs involved, many owners simply take the hit and opt not to clean them.
But through the creation of a 36-propeller cleaning drone, company Aerones are looking to change this.
The powerful drone can lift up to 440 pounds in weight, and in footage recently released by the company, the creation can be seen tackling snow and ice on the blades of a turbine.
The drone is capable of spraying up to 100 litres of fluid a minutes, and it has a tether line supplying water to the craft.
This creation, the company hope, will encourage more people to clean their turbines.
Currently, most turbine cleaning is carried out by helicopters or industrial climbers, which, Aerones say, is unsafe, slow and expensive.
It estimates that cleaning using a drone would be around 20 percent of the cost of traditional cleaning methods.
Janis Putrams, CEO of the Latvian-based company, said: “As cleaning has been expensive then many wind turbine owners could not afford to clean and just had to put up with the lost efficiency.
“There are 700 000 wind turbines in the world and the number is growing fast.
“All of them need servicing and our drone is a perfect tool for that. We can not only clean but apply hydrophobic or other coatings that can increase wind turbine blade life.
“Wind turbines look the same all around the world. Only size differs.
“We are working to automate the cleaning process and once we learn how to clean one of them then we can do the same for all.”