Wind Energy Reliability and Cost Reduction :Wind Turbine Health Monitoring Systems
Small Business Information
850 Energy Drive, Suite 307, Idaho Falls, ID, 83401
AbstractWind energy has numerous benefits as a power source, including price stability, lack of greenhouse gas emissions, and lack of dependence on imported fuels. As wind increases its penetration into the U.S. power market, it is imperative to minimize costs and maximize reliability, so that it can fully compete with traditional power sources. The primary recurring cost of energy in wind turbines is maintenance. Studies have shown that a few subsystems tend to account for most unscheduled maintenance costs, and for in-service failures and downtime. These subsystems include the gearboxes and the generator. Although technologies to monitor both of these systems already exist in a rudimentary form, these technologies require a large array of costly sensors and data acquisition hardware. This project will develop a low-cost, robust health monitoring system applicable to a wide range of commercial wind turbines. The approach involves the utilization of industry-standard vibration signal processing and condition indicators, which have been developed for aerospace applications. Phase I focused on demonstrating the underlying diagnostic algorithms. Phase II will develop several complete prototypes and demonstrate them on operating wind turbines.Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: A low-cost, high-payback health monitoring system would have a significant positive impact on wind turbine operations and maintenance costs. In turn, the net cost of energy for wind power would decrease, providing a good ROI for wind farm operators. Moreover, the reduced cost of energy and increased reliability would accelerate the adoption of this clean energy source. TodayÂ¿s 16,818 MW of wind power are keeping 28 million tons of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas associated with global warming, out of the air every year. Wind energy also helps revitalize rural and agricultural-based communities, and decreases our dependence on imported fuels
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