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Condition monitoring for off-shore wind farms

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New sensors and data network for offshore wind farms

New sensors and a data communication network from the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands will enable offshore wind farm operators to better monitor wind turbine performance.

Energy

Offshore wind farms, collections of wind turbines installed at sea, present a number of advantages over their land-based counterparts. However, significant challenges remain with respect to remote monitoring of the turbines. Funding from the Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Programme was used to investigate new techniques for Condition monitoring (CM) of wind turbines. The research culminated in the development of several new sensors by wind energy specialists with the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). More specifically, vibration monitors were created that can be implemented in a variety of configurations to collect different types of data. The Energy Research Centre also produced a number of oil monitoring sensors and integration with existing CM systems was planned. The new equipment was designed to be able to interface with Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems that are common to today's wind turbines. Algorithms were also developed to convert feedback from the sensors into useful information related to power generation. An important component of ECN's work was the creation of a data communication network to allow online configuration of the sensors as well as automated data transfer. The system allows its users to create ad-hoc reports integrating both CM and SCADA data that can be viewed with a web browser. Automated reporting is also possible. During the project, entitled CONMOW, a selection of the new sensors as well as the data communication network were successfully tested in the field at a small wind farm. It should be noted that the technology is also equally applicable to onshore wind farms.

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