Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Monitoring fatigue loads on wind turbines using cycle counting data acquisition systems

The duration of a wind turbine's life is a key parameter in the evaluation of it's economic potential. Over its lifespan a turbine has to withstand a high number of load cycles which pose demands on the fatigue characteristics of both the materials and the construction. The cycle counting data acquisition system developed during this project allows the accurate on line monitoring of the fatigue loads of large wind turbines. This information is of significant benefit to manufacturers when designing future turbines.

The lifespan of a wind energy generator and its components is a key parameter in the evaluation of its economic potential. Assuming a lifetime of 20 years, turbine components have to withstand many load cycles and this poses high demands on the fatigue characteristics of both the materials used and the turbine construction. The specific features of these fatigue loads are mostly as yet unknown. The objective of this project was to develop a cost effective and convenient monitoring system for fatigue loads on wind turbine components, which is capable of on line cycle counting data acquisition. The system was intended to be used to investigate the influence of wind turbine configuration such as in wind farms, and site parameters on the fatigue loads of wind turbines produced in series. The results of this investigation were then to be applied in the definition of a recommended methodology to predict long term load spectra from short time measurements and to help develop procedures for more exact load assumptions. Improved load assumptions will be of great importance for the development of the next generation of larger scale turbines. This project placed emphasis upon the long term fatigue evaluations for the rotor blade root as one of the critical components of the wind turbine.

Reported by

Deutsches Windenergie-Institut GmbH
Eberstrasse 96
26382 Wilhelmshaven
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