Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

AWESOME Report Summary

Project ID: 642108
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AWESOME (Advanced Wind Energy Systems Operation and Maintenance Expertise)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

In 2013, the wind energy sector reached 117 GW of installed capacity in Europe, which would, in a normal wind year, produce enough electricity to cover 8% of the EU’s consumption. The growing trend of the sector (over 10% of annual increase along the last 10 years), mainly towards the installation of offshore wind farms, together with the aging of existing onshore parks, makes the operation and maintenance (O&M) one of the critical tasks for ensuring a cost-effective exploitation of wind farms. For a new machine, O&M costs might easily have an average share over the lifetime of the turbine of approximately 20%-25% of total levelised cost per kWh produced. Besides that, there is a general agreement within the European wind energy industry on the fact that the sector is suffering an increasing shortage of skilled labour. The industry has a large proportion of vacancies for highly skilled personnel. A recent report from the TPWind Platform established that nearly 50,000 additional trained staff will be needed by the industry by 2030. By that year, O&M will become the greatest source of new jobs and demand for trained staff. On the other hand, the Roadmap on Education and Training of the SET Plan recommends the creation of networks of universities and other relevant higher education institutions.

AWESOME is determined to answer these challenges, by shaping a critical mass of new expertise with the fundamental skills required to power the scientific and technological challenges of Wind Energy O&M. The network will also constitute a core for a world-class cluster of European research expertise in Wind Energy O&M, gathering reference experts in all the disciplines required by O&M, that includes electricity, electronics, mechanics, communication technologies, meteorology, statistics, economics & finances, logistics, managerial aspects, etc. The fellows will be trained while performing R&D projects, aiming to optimize the O&M of wind energy by means of an integrated research program looking for three main scientific goals:
• To develop better O&M planning methodologies of wind farms for maximizing its revenue.
• To optimise the maintenance of wind turbines by prognosis of component failures.
• To develop new and better cost-effective strategies for Wind Energy O&M.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Key facts of this first period of the AWESOME project include the recruitment procedure of the eleven researchers, the scientific progress of their research lines, the training activities hosted and the conferences where the AWESOME network was represented. Directly at the kick-off meeting, the Supervisory Board (SB) agreed on a common recruitment procedure, including: vacancies description, communication to the SB and approval; publication of vacancies; evaluation and selection of applicants; communication of selected candidates to the SB and approval; and finally fellows’ recruitment. The whole procedure was expected to last five months, and in most of the cases partners were able to commit these dates. More than 400 applications were received for the AWESOME positions, coming from a wide range of countries of Europe, Asia and America.

Every AWESOME network fellow benefits from a wide range of network-training activities, aiming to cover all the scientific and technical development branches of wind power O&M. The following training activities have been hosted:
- Wind Power summer school (LBORO, Aug 2015): a series of lectures delivered by academics and industry experts were given.
- Specific Course 1 (CIRCE, Sep 2015): introduced the main challenges of wind power O&M.
- Specific Course 2 (NTNU, Nov 2015): focused on the scientific and technical subjects of wind farm O&M.
- 1st Joint Industry Workshop (RAMBOLL, Feb 2016): 31 participants attended the workshop, where the industry representatives covered various expert fields of the wind industry, like offshore and onshore operator, SCADA data specialist, monitoring system consultancies, turbine and foundation designer and applied research institutes. The researchers gave the technical solution to two current problems defined by these industry representatives.

The 1st set of secondments were carried out, most of them in the industry environment, aiming at validating and applying the research work as well as learning from a commercial oriented perspective of wind turbine O&M. Finally, the AWESOME network was represented in many conferences and events. Up to 25 posters and 10 oral presentations were given by the fellows in a wide range of international conferences, workshops and seminars, such as: 11th & 12th EAWE PhD Seminar, TORQUE 2016 (4 posters, 3 orals), Wind Europe Annual Summit 2016 (4 posters, 1 oral), EERA O&M workshop, EERA Deep Sea Offshore Wind R&D Conference 2016, COMADEM 2016 (China, NTNU oral presentation), OMAE 2016.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The training program established in AWESOME will directly address the predicted shortage of researchers and highly skilled workers in the field of wind energy O&M identified by the European Wind Energy Technology Platform (TP Wind) in its document “Workers Wanted: The EU Wind Energy Sector Skills Gap”. In addition, this study concludes, as one of its main recommendations, to increase the emphasis on the O&M training with concrete short-term educational programmes, as the AWESOME Specific Courses. In this context, the development of researchers aimed by AWESOME will provide the ESRs the required knowledge on a profession of future. At the end of the training period, the ESRs should (1) obtain a PhD degree, (2) be positioned as an expert on specific fields and on general research on the concepts of wind O&M, (3) have developed skills in oral and written communication through publishing in scientific journals and participating at conferences, seminars and public events, (4) gain experience on the management and internal structure and procedures of industry, academia and public administration by the secondments and (5) learn the methodology of co-working by developing their capacity of cooperation and teamwork.
The current progress beyond the state of the art can be summarized in terms of the three main objectives, directly related with the three scientific work packages of the project.
Then, related to Wind Farm O&M planning, the project is showing advances in the characterization of wind fields large coherent structures and the calculation of the power output for an idealized wind farm with different inflow situations derived from Lidar measurements. A reduced order wind farm model has also been developed together with studies of the influence of repair time and forecast length. All these results will allow to improve the O&M planning of wind farms.
Regarding Maintenance optimisation by prognosis of component failures, advances in the detection of alarm patterns and the characterisation of the normal behaviour of the wind turbines have been done. Different techniques are being used to turbine component faults including Gaussian Process Theory, Neural Networks and non-linear supervised and unsupervised machine learning methods.
Finally, with regards to Cost-effective strategies for O&M, reliability models and several frameworks for identifying the influence of weather parameters have been developed. Studies on the fatigue of turbine components, mainly for off-shore wind turbines and the outline of a decision model for Life Time extension have also been done.

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