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Reduction in Maintenance Costs of Wind Turbine Renewable Electricity Generation through Online Condition Monitoring (MONITUR)
Start date: Jan 1, 2013, End date: Dec 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

To achieve the EC binding targets of 20% electricity generation from renewables by 2020 will require between 600 and 833 TWh to be produced by wind power which will require between 119,000 to 165,000 new turbines. According to the European Wind Energy Technology Platform publication “O&M strategies are based on periodic inspection; fault statistics from existing stock is either unavailable or insufficient; maintenance needs to be minimised through preventative strategies and tools like conditional monitoring; performance of offshore farms is severely impacted by poor reliability leading to major production losses.” Turbines are not achieving a design life of 20 years with failure rates of >1/turbine/year, remote tall structures mean that maintenance and inspection is costly and difficult. Replacing a €3000 bearing can turn into a major €165,000 cost involving cranes, crews etc. For on-shore turbines operation and maintenance costs 10-15% of income over 20 years, rising for offshore to 20-25%. Intermittency of wind power also requires standby generation by open cycle gas turbines (aero-derivative units) in order to attain rapid start-up and load following capability. These units have markedly lower MTBF compared with steam and gas turbines. This consortium wish to develop a means to perform prognosis, diagnosis and root cause analysis of rotating machines via new time-frequency analysis techniques (based on higher order spectra) to the machine vibration signature during transient operation. This differs from classic techniques which have been applied to stationary signals. Thus we overcome the problems that components cannot be excited during steady state operation and precise resonance frequencies are not known. Our project will enable the prediction of component life based on measurements, not calculation even with the problematic nature of wind loads and through preventative maintenance dramatically reduce the maintenance costs within the industries mentioned.
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