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Periodic Report Summary 1 - TOWERPOWER (Continuous monitoring of the structural condition of the tower and supporting structure of floating and static offshore wind turbines)

Project Context and Objectives:
TowerPower will advance and integrate inspection techniques to produce a system that is able to monitor the whole wind turbine structure (Holistic). The inspection will provide analysis of structural defects and will be capable of anticipating (Predictive). The time before a component can be replaced allowing for better planning and scheduling of maintenance activities cutting down O&M costs (Economical). Real-time wireless connectivity will allow the TowerPower system to be utilised to monitor OWT conditions onshore, taking into account the unpredictable nature of offshore conditions (Safe).
The objectives of TOWERPOWER project developments are:
- To design and validate AE techniques for complex tubular support structures, thick walled columns and grout support joints
- To increase AE performance
- To develop transducers and sensor systems, marinated and permanently mounted
- To implement a hardware solution, DAQ and control
- To implement a software solution , database and communications
- To combine the developed NDT techniques and sensor systems into a single, reliably operating system

Project Results:
In order to achieve the objectives of the project, the work packages have been structured into separate phases to illustrate the stages and advancement through the project.
Phase 1: Development of new scientific knowledge of how the existing AE, and SM methods and systems can be customised to lend themselves to continuous structural monitoring of offshore structures to monitor the grout structure joints in offshore installations. (WP1)
- Collate existing knowledge on wind structural monitoring
- Create the TOWERPOWER system functional specification
- Design and procurement of test samples and mock-ups
- TowerPower system specifications: TOWERPOWER system concept, Overall system requirements and Constituent system requirements

Phase 2: Realisation of all NDT techniques and possibly GW as well as all the related software and hardware components, to create a continuous monitoring and inspection system for the tower and supporting structure of floating and static offshore wind turbines. System integration, testing and validation were carried out. The developed system was initially tested under laboratory conditions. (WP2, 3 and 4).

- Experimental test in laboratory and validated modelling results.
- NDT procedure parameters and environmental parameters were analysed.
- Validation of techniques for continuous monitoring of the structural condition.
- Validation of sensor array application for continuous monitoring
- Satisfactory results obtained from technique simulations on wind turbine towers as shown in D2.1 and D2.2 reports
(The conclusions and results obtained along WP2 are summarised in section 3).

- Selection of most suitable guided waves technology.
- Description if the hardware specifications and hardware selection.
- Definition of the guided waves procedure, calibration and data collection
- The prototype equipment and computational requirements for the ultrasonic guided waves technique and system was identified.
(The conclusions and results obtained along WP3 are summarised in section 3).

- The overall system architecture in terms of software and hardware was agreed.
- Signal processing modules both for Acoustic Emission (AE) and Guided Waves (GW) techniques were designed and developed.
- The communications between the individual hardware and software modules located on-site or at the base station have been specified.
- The system database architecture has been defined and the associated software module has been developed.
- The high-level Graphical User Interface structure has been determined and its development is underway.
(The conclusions and results obtained along WP4 are summarised in section 3).

Potential Impact:
The risk related to reduced energy delivery and the corresponding revenue losses is a critical factor as Offshore Wind Turbine (OWT) operators determine an inspection method for tower structures. An OWT project’s technical viability and long-term financial feasibility are adversely impacted by maintenance downtime and inefficient inspection methods. The SME-AGs have therefore come together to create an online tower structure condition monitoring system for OWTs. This will provide EU SMEs with valuable data to assist in the maintenance of OWT structures thereby reducing maintenance costs and increasing OWT service life. TowerPower will help sustain the growth being experienced in the wind energy sector
by enabling SMEs to more fully exploit their existing OWT infrastructure. Predictive maintenance has a 47% (€256 million) savings on the total wind energy maintenance cost.

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