The future of efficient and reliable wind power

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The next decades should see both global onshore and offshore wind markets continuing to expand fast. In Europe alone, the installed wind power is expected to reach 213 GW by 2020 according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). The growth is driven by the upward trend in energy prices, and by national and international legislation aiming at de-carbonization of the energy sector to abate global warming and to obtain security of energy supplies.

Ever increasing energy efficiency plays a key role in achieving these overall targets, all the way from highly effective energy production sites and seamless grids and distribution systems to optimized consumption in households and industries. Wind power has long proved its value in the continuous pursuit of energy efficiency and plays an important role in the substitution of fossil fuels with renewable alternatives.

But how do you achieve optimum performance and high reliability of the wind assets? Owners, operators and developers in the wind sector are increasingly recognizing the value of continuous high performance and prevention of failure in nacelle applications. The consequences and costs associated with component failures, particularly in offshore wind farms, are big, and failures of critical components may result in loss of electricity sales or even cause damage to other components.

This article focuses on how to get the most out of the investment in wind energy by improving the efficiency and reliability of wind turbines, onshore and offshore, throughout the entire service life.

Efficient operation of three vital wind turbine applications

Three applications are vital for achieving optimum performance of the wind turbine, i.e. the hydraulic systems that controls the pitch, yaw and brake of the wind turbine, the cooling system that ensures optimum operating conditions and the gear box that ensures the right speed of the generator according to the current wind speed. In all three applications, exact pressure and temperature control is crucial to achieve optimum and reliable operation of the turbine at all times. 


At first glance, pressure and temperature sensors and switches may seem small and inconsequential when compared to the impressive structures of the wind turbines. Nevertheless, failure of even the smallest sensor is likely to bring the turbine to a halt, resulting in costly downtime, expensive maintenance and lost revenue. It is therefore important to be extremely careful in selecting the right components for the vital applications of the wind turbines; components that fulfill the requirements to extreme accuracy during daily operation and durability over time and often in harsh environments. 

The advantages of long service-life

The general trend towards larger wind turbines at remote sites, often offshore, places new demands on the turbine equipment and sets new standards for maintenance during the turbine life cycle. Furthermore, the extremely harsh environments of the offshore wind farms lead to increased risk of pressure pulsation peaks and vibrations occurring in the ever larger wind turbines. This calls for ultimate performance of all turbine components.

 

In order to ensure long and maintenance-free service life it is imperative to choose nacelle components that are designed particularly for use in heavy-duty hydraulic applications and protected by acid-resistant stainless steel (AISI 316) casings to avoid corrosion in marine environments.

Did you know that...

In 2020, the expected 213 GW of installed wind power in Europe will reduce the emission of CO₂ by 316 Mt. This is equivalent to about three quarters of the emissions of EU's car fleet today and make up 28 % of the EU's greenhouse gas reduction scheme for 2020.
Source: EWEA

 

Danfoss secures optimum uptime on the wind turbines by offering a complete product program for temperature and pressure monitoring and control:

 

Pitch system, Hydraulic units, Yaw system and brake:

  • MBT 3270 / 5250
  • MBS 8200 / 8250
  • MBS 3000 / 3050

 

Filter unit for gearbox, Lubrication oil pressure:

  • MBS 8200 / 3000
  • MBT 3270 / 5250

 

Cooling systems:

  • MBS 8200 / 3000
  • MBT 3270 / 5250

 

Bearing temperature:

  • MBT 5310

 

Ambient temperature:

  • MBT 153