ReliaWind is the first European-wide project that brings together major stakeholders of the wind energy value chain to develop tools, models, and design guidelines for the next generation of wind turbines. First convening in March 2007 to examine renewable energy, the European Union (EU) Council of Ministers agreed that “renewable energy will cover at least 20 percent of the EU’s energy demand by 2020.”
Believing that wind power can make the most important contribution to meeting this particular target–as well as helping to meet 2020 targets for both improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent–the EU Council of Ministers tasked a consortium of 10 industry and academic leaders with conducting reliability-focused research to optimize wind turbine design, operation, and maintenance. In their efforts to develop superior, next-generation solutions, consortium members used PTC Windchill Quality Solutions to analyze reliability and maintainability data from current wind turbines to determine how to improve future system designs.
For renewable energy to cover at least 20 percent of the EU’s energy demand by 2020, developing offshore wind farms is imperative. However, variable weather, extreme load cases, marine air, salt water, and difficult access all greatly increase the risks associated with installing, operating, and maintaining wind turbines offshore. To make investing in offshore wind farms more attractive, the EU Council of Ministers recognized that optimizing the overall reliability and maintainability of wind turbines was essential.
This optimization of reliability and maintainability is no simple task. Deploying wind turbines offshore requires the implementation of advanced corrosion protection technologies and the placement of electrical units in environmentally controlled sections of the turbine. Additionally, maintenance strategies for offshore service and repair actions not only need to reduce repair times but also improve access methods, making them less sensitive to wind and wave conditions.
In a drive to “Design for Reliability,” the EU Council of Ministers formed the ReliaWind consortium, giving the 10 participating organizations a contribution of 5.5 million Euros and three years to improve the way in which wind turbines are designed, built, and maintained. With a total budget of 7.7 million Euros, ReliaWind was charged with developing and delivering reliability models specific to wind turbines to all stakeholders in the wind energy sector.
In addition to training stakeholders on how to use these models to apply a reliability-minded approach to development activities, ReliaWind was charged with educating other organizations about their findings through conferences, workshops, websites, and media initiatives in the hope that this research will impact new turbine construction from 2015 onward.
Offshore wind farms offer many advantages over land-based wind farms, including:
While offshore farms offer several essential advantages, they present numerous reliability challenges, including the need for the following:
ReliaWind’s chief goal was to evolve the wind power sector by making deployments of offshore wind farms comparable in costs to deployments of onshore farms. While one or more failures annually is common for an onshore turbine, this level of unreliability is unacceptable offshore, where costs associated with downtime and repairs are significantly higher. For offshore wind farm development to attract investors, the operational availability must be higher than 97 percent.
To achieve this goal, ReliaWind set several ambitious quantitative reliability objectives for onshore and offshore turbines:
To better understand wind turbine reliability and to positively impact future designs, ReliaWind established the following integrated approach for analyzing current systems.
Data collection and standardization
PTC Windchill Prediction
PTC Windchill OpSim (Optimization and Simulation)
PTC Windchill FMEA
Prior to concluding the three-year project, ReliaWind met deliverable objectives by:
The benefits of a fully integrated reliability analysis toolset like PTC Windchill Quality Solutions stem from the ability to use a single source of data across multiple analysis modules. In addition to eliminating the error-prone, time-intensive process of redundant data entry, PTC Windchill Quality Solutions effectively use legacy information, providing real-world results in its reliability prediction calculations to support the development of new system designs.
By being able to use the system metrics calculated as inputs for risk analysis, the PTC Windchill FMEA and Fault Tree modules can quantify the probability and severity of system risks in which part failure is a contributing factor. A fully integrated analysis using multiple PTC Windchill Quality Solutions modules considers various dimensions of system reliability simultaneously, saving time and streamlining analysis activities.
ReliaWind, a consortium of major wind power stakeholders from seven European countries, relies on PTC Windchill Quality Solutions to analyze and improve the reliability and maintainability of wind turbines.
– Peter Tavner, Durham University
The Goal: Optimize wind turbine design, operation, and maintenance
The Challenge: Analyze current wind turbine data
The Solution: Use PTC Windchill Quality Solutions to “design for reliability”
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