Scottish Novel Research to Improve Availability of Wind Farms

Scottish Novel Research to Improve Availability of Wind Farms

Research led at the University of Strathclyde could be set to improve the availability of windfarms and reduce the need for expensive, reactive maintenance.

The novel research testing for wind condition monitoring technologies is now underway as engineers at the University work together with industrial partners, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Scottish Enterprise.

Strathclyde’s Centre for Advanced Condition Monitoring (CACM) is leading the project with researchers developing technology to monitor the condition of wind turbine drivelines, including remote sensors to detect how they are being affected by extreme wind conditions.

The CACM, launched in 2011, is a partnership between the University, SgurrEnergy and David Brown Gear Systems. Dr Francis Quail, Director of the CACM, said: “The Centre for Advanced Condition Monitoring is positioned to play an important role in helping to meet renewable energy targets for Scotland and will provide cost effective technology that maximises the potential of wind turbine operations.

“This research partnership is allowing the University of Strathclyde to develop next generation tools and solutions to enhance Scotland’s reputation as world leader in renewable energy.

“The University has a proud tradition of applied research and as a leading international technological university this founding principle is again evidenced in strong collaboration with key partners – to ensure that our world class research makes a significant impact on the challenges facing the renewable energy sector.”

The research testing will involve the deployment of wind measurement tool, Galion Lidar. Pioneered by Scottish renewable energy consultancy, SgurrEnergy, the device is being used by researchers at the University to accurately quantify the impact of specific characteristics of the wind, such as turbulence and gust structure, on key wind turbine components and turbine life.

Testing is taking place near Glasgow at SgurrEnergy’s unique test facility, Carrot Moor, situated within Whitelee Windfarm – the UK’s largest onshore windfarm.

Ian Irvine, technical director at SgurrEnergy said: “Our extensive involvement in offshore windfarm projects has highlighted the huge potential and also significant challenges that face the industry.

“Offshore wind projects can be difficult working environments and consequently costs can be extremely high. Quality information on windfarm operational performance is essential to ensure that optimum decisions can be made.

“We are delighted to be part of this exciting partnership which will allow industry experts to work together with a leading academic research team to develop these supporting information systems.”

The CACM is part of the Scottish Energy Laboratory that was launched to strengthen collaboration across Scotland’s key test and demonstration facilities. This network of facilities has a combined investment value of £250 million across all key energy sectors and will be a hub for national and international companies to identify and access the most appropriate of Scotland’s test and demonstration facilities for their technologies.

The University of Strathclyde was also recently name as the UK University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards. Judges described the University as a “bold, imaginative and innovative institution”, praising the close links with business and industry and the commitment to making an impact on the global economy.

Neil Francis, Scottish Enterprise Senior Director for Technology and Sector Delivery, said:

“Innovative and cost effective technology, which maximises the potential of offshore installations, has a critical role to play in development of the offshore wind industry in Scotland.

“Offshore wind is a rapidly expanding and long-term market and this project is helping establish Scotland as a leading global location for R&D and innovation in the sector. It’s also an excellent example of how partners from the public sector, industry and academia are working together to increase R&D capacity and capability in condition monitoring.”

Estimates suggest by 2050, offshore wind could be worth £65 billion to the UK and could support hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The CACM is expected to set new standards in offshore wind technology condition monitoring design and development. It will draw on expertise from internationally renowned companies and the University’s Faculty of Engineering, which is home to research expertise unrivalled in the UK.

The Centre’s test resources will also become part of the University’s new £89 million Technology and Innovation Centre – a world-leading research centre bringing together academics and industrialists in the heart of Glasgow.


Press release, March 20, 2013; Image: scottishrenewables

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