Researchers from Finland and Russia are developing energy efficient wind turbines for supplying consumers in the Arctic region. The EFREA project is part of the South-East Finland Russia Cross Border Cooperation Program for 2014-2020 period.
The project aims to innovate and advance the following topics: corrosion protection, 3D manufacturing, coatings, standards and coatings, light-weight structures, materials for arctic conditions, wielding methods and processes.
Paul Kah, the associate professor and manager of EFREA project, said the program is an emerging cluster for the development of Arctic technology which builds upon the extensive Russian and Finnish experience, technical knowledge and scientific competence in the field. Remaining competitive in the Arctic engineering requires strong institutional frameworks and cross-border cooperation. The project will advance joining methods for deployment in various Arctic structures and will also assess the durability of new high-strength materials.
Energy supply in Northern regions is a very acute problem both cost-wise and environmentally. Delivering organic energy resources to these areas is very expensive and emissions from fuel combustion and storage of barrels causes huge environmental damage to the Arctic ecosystem. Professor Viktor Elistratov said that the use of renewable energy sources such as wind is also difficult due to Arctic conditions such as icing of blades of wind turbines and turbine metal becomes brittle due to extremely low temperatures. The short summer period and off-road condition creates serious problems in the manufacturing, installation and assembling of foundation.
The first stage of the project will involve determining the design parameters and types of modular type wind turbine. The turbine is to be developed considering the digital design principles. Researchers will assess the climatic and natural characteristics of the arctic region and identify the extreme climatic factors and most effective zones for manufacture and design of the wind turbines. The scientists are considering possibilities of installation both on ground and floating underwater installation. The development will take into account the features such as large water surfaces of lakes and northern seas in Finland and Russia. The installations will open up several opportunities for renewable energy supply to remote areas in the Arctic.
Finland’s LUT University is the participant from the Finnish side in the joint project. The university has extensive experience in implementation and development of Arctic materials. The project’s supervisor Professor Paul Kah is of Finnish origin and is a visiting professor at the St. Petersburg Polytechnic University.
The third participant in the project is ‘’PROMETEY’’ or the Central Research Institute of Structural Materials. The institute is currently engaged in research and analysis of materials which can be used for installations and deployments in the Arctic region. The project’s end result is to a create a wind turbine prototype suited and adapted for northern conditions as well as creation of a geographic information system with natural and extreme climatic characteristics and wind potential.