Stay Current

Dig deeper into the biggest issues facing offshore wind, wave and tidal energy with our series of Analysis & Insight papers.

Find out more

Innovation Challenges

Solving these technology innovation challenges will help drive down the cost of offshore renewable energy, with positive effects for the industry and UK economy. If your technology has the answer, get in touch via our contact form on the Innovation Challenges page.

Find out more

Innovation Challenges

Generator Health Monitoring

Issue

Current powertrain health monitoring technologies utilised in wind turbines are mainly vibration-based, which is only effective in monitoring the condition of the mechanical moving parts. This type of technology is not sufficient for monitoring the wind turbine generator without taking into account the potential electrical-thermal impacts, which do not induce obvious vibration signals. This creates a health monitoring blind spot for the equipment and the asset owners, making it difficult to identify potential premature failures of the generator.

Challenge

Develop electro-mechanical health monitoring technology that enables improved monitoring of generator performance/ condition, allowing informed maintenance and turbine performance management.

The proposed solutions for this challenge must be deployable without requiring changes to existing manufacturing and design of offshore wind turbines and be able to detect the premature failure of a generator by monitoring electrical signals.

Functional Requirements

  • Solutions should provide a method to monitor the condition of generator by monitoring electrical signal
  • Solutions should, where possible, automate the recognition of data signatures that indicate condition/performance issues to reduce manual processing at an individual turbine before data transmission.
  • Solutions should store the original data signals from sensors for periods greater than 1 month and transmit these data to the control centre by remote control when it is required (i.e. if there is a fault requiring detailed investigation).
  • Solutions can automatically trigger warnings or alarms for monitored components after recognition of condition/performance issues.
  • Solutions can automatically transmit the measurement data to the control centre after post-processing of the data.

Technical Characteristics

  • Solution should not require major modification of turbine structure and component
  • Solution should be able to monitor the status of generator
  • The size of data to transmit should be smaller than 7.2Mbps (if using standard 3G network, if solution can provide its own higher speed transmission method, then the maximum size of data can be increased)
  • Solution should be able to communicate with existing SCADA and control system

Deployment Timescale

  • Validation of solution: 6 months after prototype of solution is manufactured
  • Field trials: 12 – 24 months (to evaluate solution under operating condition of seasonal variation)

Operating Conditions

  • Solution should meet the required protection system according to
    • EN 50308 Wind turbines- Protective Measures: Requirements for design, operation and maintenance
    • IEC61400
    • (Or equivalent)
  • Operating temperature: -40°C – 60°C

Cost Requirements

  • The CAPEX of solution should not exceed 1 % of CAPEX of turbine
  • The OPEX of solution should be less than OPEX of conventional monitoring system
  • The net effect of the solution should reduce the LCOE of offshore wind power.


The proposed solutions for this challenge must be deployable without requiring changes to existing manufacturing and design of offshore wind turbines and be able to detect the premature failure of a generator by monitoring electrical signals.

Opportunities

Turbines are increasing in size, therefore, blades are getting longer and powertrain systems are increasing in capacity.

From 2010 to 2016, wind turbine power rating has grown by 60%. In 2016, the average capacity of new wind turbines installed was 4.8 MW, a significant increase from 3.0 MW in 2010, reflecting a period of continuous development.  The first 8MW turbines have been in operation since late 2016.

Market size

The blades and powertrains market has seen rapid growth following a sustained offshore wind build programme in Europe led by the UK and Germany.  Europe has 3,589 offshore turbines installed and grid-connected as of January 2017 with a total capacity of 12.631GW across 10 European countries.

Market Forecast

The 11 offshore projects under construction in Europe as of June 2017 will increase installed capacity by a further 4.8GW, equating to around 800 new powertrain systems and 2400 new blades just for offshore wind alone.  In 2016 a total of 4,948MW of new capacity reached FID and it is projected that the total European installed capacity will reach 24.6GW by 2020.

Do you have a potential solution?

The improved monitoring of generator performance is vital to avoid monitoring blind spots.

Apply now

related case studies

Cookies on Catapult explained

To comply with EU directives we now provide detailed information about the cookies we use. To find out more about cookies on this site, what they do and how to remove them, see our information about cookies. Click OK to continue using this site.

OK