Using Data When Monitoring Wind Turbines

Wind power has fast become one of the most widely sought-after renewable energy sources. It is one of the most economical solutions for generating electricity. To illustrate the growing demand for renewable energy sources, there are approximately 350,000 wind turbines in place across the globe. The turbines are providing more than 650,000 megawatts of energy. As climate change continues to become a growing problem, the wind turbines need to operate at a high level of efficiency. To do this, it is important to provide proper maintenance and monitoring for all installed turbines. That is why many companies rely on wind turbine noise monitoring to detect problems as early as possible.

How Long do Wind Turbines Last?

Wind turbines are designed to last twenty to twenty-five years. They have a low failure rate but as with any mechanical device, they can fail. In order to minimize the chances for failure, monitoring is necessary.

The highest rate of failure occurs within the first three years of operation. Once the turbine has been ‘broken in’, they tend to operate for approximately fifteen years with few problems. One way to ensure the failure rate is as low as possible is with maintenance. A part of maintenance involves wind turbine noise measurement.

The Inner Workings of Wind Turbines

Wind turbines might look like large propellers, but they are actually complex pieces of machinery. They include:

  • Yaw Motors
  • Sensors
  • Electrical Components
  • Hydraulics
  • Rotor Blades
  • Gearboxes
  • Mechanical Brakes
  • Generators

When any of these components fail, the turbine is offline and electrical production is halted.

Minimize Downtime

While the highest number of failures occur with electrical components, there are other components just as prone to problems.

The other component can include:

  • Drivetrain
  • Generator
  • Gearbox

In order to optimize turbine performance, it is important proper maintenance is performed. Obviously, the more time technicians maintain the turbine with both planned and unplanned maintenance the more costs are incurred. It is vital companies find a balance in how and when maintenance and upkeep is performed. One way to do this is through wind turbine noise monitoring.

Valuable Data

Through vibration analysis the overall health of various components can be determined by the type of sound and amount of sound generated. There are hundreds of different metrics to be measured when monitoring vibration. These can include:

  • Nacelle Positions
  • Blade Angles
  • Weather Conditions
  • Energy Output
  • Temperatures
  • Gearbox
  • Fault Codes
  • Generator Accelerations
  • Control Valves
  • System Status

By using these metrics to assess the turbine noise level, failure models can be built to determine when and what type of maintenance is needed.

In Conclusion

With a wind turbine noise assessment completed for a given turbine, the components in need of replacement or repair can be determined. This will allow parts to be ordered and a minimal amount of downtime. With more extended periods of uptime, the turbine is more effective and productive, increasing energy output with a renewable energy source. If you have questions regarding noise assessments contact us.

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