The importance of wind turbine lightning protection systems is highlighted by the fact that positive lightning strikes can happen in various areas with different levels of intensity. This means that they can pose one of the greatest threats to wind turbines around the world. This also translates to ensuring the presence of these protection systems as primary requirements in preserving the reliability of wind turbines. It is important to point out that there is an existing standard observed for lighting protection systems to make sure that they are capable of withstanding at least 95 percent of lightning strikes. This also emphasizes the importance of certain components to ensure effectiveness.
These components are designed and manufactured based of specific standards that are meant to enforce not only effectiveness, but reliability as well. This means that they have low inductance as well as low surge impedance per unit.Their capability to withstand current while maintaining mechanical and thermal efficiency without degradation should be beyond question. It is equally important to ensure that the conductors remain resistant to mechanical fatigue including environmental effects, especially when you consider that many wind turbines can function for 25 years at the most. Normally, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum are the preferred materials for conductors.
Installing the Connections
There are typically two types of connections used for lightning protection systems; welded and mechanically bolted connections. The type of connection to be used will rely on various factors that will affect its efficiency like the material used for conduction for example. The resistance to corrosion and vibration will also be taken into consideration especially when you think about the substantial vibrations that can be generated by wind turbines. As with any wind turbine lightning protection system, the cost and benefits of the type of connections will be evaluated as well.