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A DCU project that will clean, classify and quantify contaminants from the blades of wind turbines has received funding from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). 
The project, Laser Ablation for Wind Turbine Blade Contaminant Classification, Quantification and Removal is lead by Prof. John T Costello in the School of Physical Sciences in DCU.  The fouling of turbine blades has a dramatic effect on their aerodynamic performance and hence on the wind to electrical energy conversion efficiency ratio. By using laser ablation, removing thin layers of material by irradiation of a surface with a pulsed laser, the blades can be cleaned in a green and completely chemical free method. As a side effect, the material ablated by the laser forms a light emitting plasma which contains the spectral signatures or ‘fingerprints’ of the contaminants.
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