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ICE ICE MAYBE

A drone the size of a small car could be the future of clean energy maintenance

By Arielle Ray
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Clean-energy producers in cold climates have an ice problem, particularly for wind turbines. Ice accumulating on turbine blades can alter their shape, significantly changing how aerodynamic they are. The less aerodynamic the blades become, the less wind power they can harness, significantly decreasing their energy output. Some turbines have a built-in de-icing system, but for those that do not, removing ice is an expensive and labor-intensive process. Energy plants often hire helicopters to reach the taller points of the turbine, which can be over 250 feet (75 meters) in the air.

Aerones, a Latvia-based drone manufacturer, has built a large drone it says can complete the same task for a lot less money. The company is still in its incubator phase (it’s backed by Y combinator), so the drone is not yet widely available. Aerones is marketing the drone for several industrial cleaning tasks including wind turbines, grain storage, and oil platforms.

To see it in action, watch the video above.

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