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New approaches for an optimal realiable and safe wind turbine

Safewindturbine seeks to practically eliminate catastrophic failures and minimise the need for corrective maintenance by developing and successfully implementing an integrated condition monitoring system for the continuous evaluation of wind turbines.

Wind energy is the most important renewable energy source at global scale. Many studies predict that the growth of wind energy will continue rising until at least 2050. The size of wind turbines (WTs) will continue to grow, thus requiring more cost-effective operations based on optimised levels of reliability, availability, maintainability and safety. Blanco (2009) shows that the operation and maintenance (O&M) costs can be 20%–30% of the total investment costs of the project over its lifetime. Although larger turbines may reduce the O&M costs per unit power, the cost per failure is increasing. Employing a suitable maintenance technique, many faults can be detected and controlled in operational conditions. Early detection of incipient faults prevents major component failures and allows the implementation of predictive repair strategies. Therefore appropriate actions can be planned in time to prevent major failures, which would result in significant O&M costs and downtimes to be incurred. Condition monitoring (CM) provides useful information which can help ensure the operational efficiencyand contribute to the improvement of new turbine designs. Some components fail earlier than expected and cause unscheduled downtimes adversely affecting the overall success of utility-scale wind energy projects. Condition monitoring systems (CMS) can contribute to the improved operational control of the main components . CM is usually used to collect the main parameters of the WTs’ components, e.g. gearbox, generator, main bearings, blades, tower, etc. CM, together with advanced mathematical methods, provides continuous information of the component status based on techniques as vibration and oil analysis, thermography, strain, acoustic emission, etc. There have been several research studies which have sought to improve the current mathematical methods employed in CMS. SafeWindTurbine considers the main components of WTs and their relationship. In the present study a qualitative evaluation using fault tree analysis has been carried out. The quantitative FTA has been performed employing binary decision diagrams. The FT for a WT has been developed and analysed qualitatively and quantitatively considering the comments of industrial experts involved in the European Project OPTIMUS, together with an exhaustive analysis of the state of the art.
Acronym: 
SafeWindTurbine
Project ID: 
9 930
Start date: 
01-10-2015
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
810 000.00€
Technological Area: 
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Market Area: 
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Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.