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Automated mechanical property and fatigue life assessment of composite wind turbine blades in less than 4 hours

Objective

The wind turbine industry is one of the fastest growing markets. Current turbines are huge with turbine rotor diameters of over 100m becoming standard. EU energy policy calls for 20% of the EU's 3040Th/y electricity demand to come from renewable sources by 2020, which constitutes a market of some 140€ billion and wind energy is the clear front runner.

Presently in situ blade inspection is carried out every 3-6 month visually or with manual operatives involved in dangerous abseiling. In certain cases, a blade is dismantled and transported onshore, making the turbine downtime very high.

The AUTOWINSPEC project will provide a system to automatically estimate the condition and remaining lifespan of the blades, by eliminating dangerous rope access and reducing downtime whilst increasing productivity.

The inspection involves the following steps:
- An autonomous robotic system crawls along the blade.
- Using novel Acousto-Ultrasonic NDE technique the condition of the blades is estimated.
- The NDT equipment is applied through probes based on a gimbal structure to perform the inspection as a continuous spot measurement process to cover the blades.
- The coordinates and respective measurements are stored and through novel signal analysis techniques a map of the mechanical properties of the blades is produced pinpointing defects and estimating the remaining life of the entire blade.

The AUTOWINSPEC system aims for a target reduction of 84% in maintenance costs, since the inspection process will be completed in half time compared to current practice eliminating the need for trained operators. By including the reduction of revenue loss through increased downtime, overall savings can be greater. In addition, project SMEs will have enhanced access to the EU wind turbine maintenance market, set to reach 42€ billion, i.e., 30% of renewable sources revenue by 2020.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/economics and business/economics/sustainable economy
  • /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/commerce
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/renewable energy/windpower

Call for proposal

FP7-SME-2013
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

BSG-SME - Research for SMEs

Coordinator

WLB LIMITED
Address
Zinonos Sozou (Office 103) 11
1075 Lefkosia
Cyprus
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
€ 197 070
Administrative Contact
Silvia Sotiropoulou (Ms.)

Participants (8)

ROBOTNIK AUTOMATION SLL
Spain
EU contribution
€ 164 215
Address
Carrer De Barcelona, 3-A. P.i. Fuente Del Jarro
46988 Paterna
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Rafael Lopez (Mr.)
BS ROTOR TECHNIC (UK) LTD
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 180 920
Address
Twyford
SO21 1QR Crofton Highfield
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Jeremy Sheppard (Mr.)
I DIMOULIS & CO EE
Greece
EU contribution
€ 167 858
Address
Eyplias Street 49
185 37 Piraeus
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Giota Xifara (Ms.)
STIRLING DYNAMICS LTD
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 184 889
Address
Regent Street 26 Clifton
BS8 4HG Bristol
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Simon Waring (Mr.)
INNORA PROIGMENA TECHNOLOGIKA SYSTIMATA KAI YPIRESIES AE
Greece
EU contribution
€ 27 218
Address
Ioannoy Metaxa 59
19400 Koropi Attikis
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Panagiotis Chatzakos (Dr.)
TWI LIMITED
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 59 450
Address
Granta Park Great Abington
CB21 6AL Cambridge
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
David Hamper (Mr.)
INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE LIMITED - INNOTECUK
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 36 380
Address
Hildersham Road North Wing The Old Livery
CB21 6DR Cambridge
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Munawar A. Dossul (Mr.)
TELEROBOT SPA

Participation ended

Italy
Address
Via Buccari 9
16153 Genova
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Francesco Becchi (Mr.)