Preventing catastrophic failure in wind turbines


If you’re a regular follower of our blog you will know that we often discuss renewable energy technologies, such as wind and tidal.  Renewable energy is a fast growing industry.  In the wind sector, for example, there are now around 225,000 turbines installed globally, and it appears that the growth seen within the industry will continue unabated. However, there is still a dizzying 1.52 million MW shortfall on current 2030 global estimates.
With challenging targets to be met, optimising the technology to maximise efficiency and keep downtime to a minimum is a priority for all. Engineers must design robust but efficient solutions in order to maximise power output but also ensure that turbines remain tough enough to withstand strong winds and the continuous stress that is associated with ongoing movement.

Manufacturers of wind turbines regularly attribute 20-year maintenance free guarantees, but these claims are being called into question with ever increasing regularity. Industry statistics show that catastrophic failure is more common than industry experts would like us to believe. To cite a recent example, this video shows that something went drastically wrong.

Condition and vibration monitoring technologies are somewhat standard when it comes to wind farm installations these days. For example, wind turbine manufacturers such as Vestas, GE energy and Suzlon all offer condition monitoring equipment. Condition monitoring provides an early warning of wear and tear, something which can alert engineers to an impending failure. By utilising this technology effectively, it is not unrealistic to imagine catastrophic and costly failures becoming almost things of the past, while also saving the industry millions in unplanned maintenance.

Hansford Sensors have long been involved within the wind power industry. For more information visit our website.

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