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Advanced technologies for condition monitoring and control of wind turbines

To increase wind turbine reliability by failure mode investigation of components. The main tools for the research are vibration measurements, the counting of metallic particles in oil and the monitoring of fiber optic blades.

The European policy in energy matter aims towards two clearly defined objectives. On the one hand, to reduce power dependency, and on the other hand, to fight against the climatic change, improving competitiveness at the same time. Both objectives converge with the development of more and more competitive renewable energies that can contribute to the transformation of the present power system, based on fossil fuels, to a more sustainable system that guarantees supply. This line of investigation constitutes a strategic line in the future VII Framework Programme of the EUROPEAN UNION. Within this context, Europe has gone for power policies in which renewable energies, particularly wind energy, have a growing contribution quota in the supply. At 31 December 2004, European wind energy production came to 34,205 MW (Megawatt), which shows an increase of almost 20% when compared to 2003. The net power installed in 2004 was 5,703 MW, which required an investment of 5,700 million euro. SPAIN and GERMANY are the most active countries in wind energy with a contribution of 72 % to newly installed power during 2004, followed by THE NETHERLANDS and ITALY, adding up to 197 MW and 221 MW respectively. The 1,000 MW barrier of installed power was reached. At the present time in SPAIN, the contribution of wind energy requires supplying 8,500 MW to the power network, with a projection of up to 13,000 MW in 2011. This will require capacity for producing 12% of the total energy. As a result of the significant development experienced with wind energy during the last ten years in SPAIN, and specifically in the pioneering region of Navarra, an entire industrial sector has been generated around it. In the case of Navarra, a variety of companies in the sector exist: promoters and operators of wind farms, manufacturers of wind turbines, manufacturers of blades and other components, developers of control electronics, and other companies specialised in the engineering and maintenance of wind turbines. In Navarra, this sector has generated more than 3,000 jobs and is second in importance behind the automobile industry. Nevertheless, with the possibility of significant developments in wind energy worldwide, and in view of the current level of technology, wind turbines present varying degrees of problems, fundamentally of the mechanical type, including component failure with bearings, gears and blades. These failures are largely due to the high input load oscillation in these components caused by the variable condition of the wind. Thus, the number of cycles of fatigue that any one of these elements supports can be noticeably higher than in other types of rotating machines. For that reason it is necessary that the investigation into the failure mechanisms supplies information, on the one hand, for the re-engineering of this type of machine, and on the other hand, for the establishment of operation and maintenance systems capable of reducing the number of incidences, and in case they occur, preventing them in advance in order to reduce repair costs. In conclusion, the general aim of the EOLO-TAMECA project is to increase the feasibility of wind energy through the following individual objectives: - An increase in machine reliability using re-engineering work by studying and analysing typical problems. - An increase in machine reliability by developing new control laws for wind turbines that allow for the extension of the useful life of components. - The development and application of predictive maintenance techniques in wind turbines.
Acronym: 
EOLO-TAMECA
Project ID: 
3 567
Start date: 
01-01-2005
Project Duration: 
48months
Project costs: 
3 300 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Sensor Technology related to measurements
Market Area: 
Wind energy

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.