Extending the service life of wind turbines through smart control

Extending the service life of wind turbines through smart control

From rotor blade data to smart turbine control and extending the service life of wind turbines

Reading time approx. 2 minutes

The expansion of electricity generation from wind power has been booming for 20 years. More precisely: since the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) came into force. It was only this promotion, introduced at the beginning of the 2000s, that really brought sustainable power generation forward. But soon the financial support for the first wind power plants, which is limited to two decades, will be phased out.

Because they have now been financially amortized, many plants could continue to feed electricity into the grid at low cost. For the operators, this would be an additional return, as they had calculated a lifetime of only 20 years. Whether a turbine is technically suitable for further operation, however, must be answered clearly.

Further operation through smart apps based on reliable data

Without suitable measuring methods, however, operators cannot know exactly whether the turbines have reached the end of their technical lifetime. Concrete data would, for example, help them to invest the necessary safety reserves at a lower level. Up to now, this data has usually been missing. But they could show more reliably how much the turbines have been affected by wind and weather over the past decades.

Our customers have different motivations why they use sensors for bending moment and natural frequency determination. Almost all of them, however, have a direct positive effect on the service life of their wind turbines. The motivations for smart turbine control can be:

Scheme representing different linear life consumptions over a component time in operation (dotted line) including potential safety risk and additional use gained with or without monitoring. Adapted from [1]

Download our white paper on extending the service life of wind turbines here.

to the white paper

Fiber optic measurement technology for wind turbines

Different from most common measuring instruments, these sensors do not use electricity but light. fos4X uses fiber optic sensors that detect the change of wavelengths. This makes them superior: Thunderstorms and lightning cannot interfere with the transmission, so the sensors can be mounted directly in the rotor blade. There they reliably measure the forces acting on the rotor blade and use this data to calculate the actual loads on the turbine.

Advantages for manufacturers

Wind turbine manufacturers can easily integrate our industrial solution “fos4Blade” into their production. The optimized design of the turbines enables significantly increased energy production through larger rotors in the same wind class. More efficient and more durable turbines are made possible. Our customers’ products are among the most innovative and successful on the market.

Advantages for operators

We offer operators of wind farms the opportunity to optimize their existing turbines. The installation of our retrofit solutions can be realized within one day and enable the digitalization of your wind turbine to a Smart Asset. The systems allow autonomous control, reduce operating costs and unnecessary downtime and increase the yield of offshore and onshore wind farms.

You can find more about “extending the service life of wind turbines” here.

to the blog post


[1] Hyers et al., Condition monitoring and prognosis of utility scale wind turbines, Energy Materials, Materials Science and Engineering for Energy Systems 1 (3) 187-203, 2006