Oil condition monitoring in wind turbines

 

Background

In 2021 wind electricity generation increased by a record 273TWh (up 17%). This was 55% higher growth than that achieved in 2020 and was the highest growth among all renewable power technologies. However, to get on track to meet the Net Zero target (for decarbonising) by 2050, which includes approximately 7900TWh of wind electricity generation in 2030, it will be necessary to continue to expand wind turbine capacity by approximately 18% annual growth between 2022 and 2030. 

Source: IEA.org 

Challenge


Due to these targets, we will see many new turbine farm deployments, a mix of both onshore and offshore. Not only is this a huge challenge from a manufacturing and construction standpoint but crucially also in effective maintenance – keeping the blades turning.  

Access to and maintenance of wind turbines is both difficult and expensive, especially when offshore. On average turbines can only be inspected once or twice a year, when mechanical and electrical assemblies are checked, minor repairs are performed and consumables like greases, oils and filters can be exchanged, but what happens in between these infrequent service intervals? 

Unlike most process critical rotating assets in manufacturing, such as gearboxes, it is not possible to take samples of oil monthly or quarterly to assess whether internal mechanical damage is starting to occur. The opportunity to predict a failure and intervene in time to prevent costly or even catastrophic damage with conventional maintenance practices is extremely limited. 

Solution

Gill WearDetect oil debris sensors are a proven solution to this issue. Already installed on thousands of wind turbines globally, WearDetect has become a vital tool in the fight against serious damage and downtime.  

The sensor continuously collects and measures the presence of ferrous wear metals in oil 24/7, 365 days a year, trending the internal wear rate of gearboxes and bearings over time, identifying abnormal increases of the warning indicators and enabling prediction at the early stages of a failure. The sensors can be connected to a plc/condition monitoring system, allowing the process to be monitored remotely, without the need for physical inspection. 

In addition, the sensor has options to either measure and trend changes in the temperature or dielectric properties of the oil, enabling detection of water presence or no-oil scenarios.

WearDetect is a powerful multi-point predictive maintenance tool and, according to customers, at a price point that delivers real value at an affordable cost for wide scale deployment. WearDetect – truly helping keep the blades turning!

 

 

WearDetect Oil Debris Sensor

WearDetect Oil Debris Sensor

WearDetect Explained - 5 minute video

WearDetect Explained - 5 minute video


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