Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have been awarded the U.S. Department of Energy funding to work with Sentient Science Corporation on the development of a prognostic solution to predict and extend wind turbine blade life.
Sentient Science has been enhancing its DigitalClone technology, used to predict the life and provide life extension actions for rotating mechanical equipment, to include wind turbine blade early failure predictions.
The collaboration with Sandia and NREL will give Sentient access to intellectual and technical resources at both laboratories to accelerate blade modeling capabilities within DigitalClone Live, the company said.
“A single defective wind turbine blade could cost wind operators up to $300,000 if it’s not caught early enough for repair,” said Elon Terrell, Ph.D. and Computational Tribologist at Sentient Science.
“We’re developing a predictive health monitoring solution to detect contact bending fatigue and wear rates of wind turbine blades. The partnership and access to the lab resources and brilliant minds at Sandia and NREL will help us accelerate this program.”
As part of the project, researchers will subject a Sandia-designed DOE National Rotor Testbed 13-meter turbine blade to continual fatigue testing, and use optics to identify the wear of the blade over time. The physical test data will be used during the development of the computational model and then validate the accuracy of the digital approach.
“We look forward to the opportunity to partner with Sentient Science in leveraging Sandia’s decades of work in sensors, prognostic structural health monitoring and damage modeling,” said Jon White, Ph.D. and Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia.
Once the DigitalClone blade model is completed, the software capabilities will be built into Sentient’s DigitalClone Live Software as a service, which is used by wind turbine operators to lower their cost of energy through prognostics and life extension recommendations, Sentient said.
“Our DigitalClone Live prognostic technology is being used by wind operators and OEMs around the world to achieve life extension on their wind turbines. We see what sensors can’t see, and predict early failure initiation months and years before a sensor or a CBM (condition-based monitoring) system detects a field failure,” said Ward Thomas, CEO & President of Sentient Science.
“Users understand which turbines to climb and which components need attention with enough advanced notice to optimize their supply chain, lower inventory, reduce lead times and coordinate maintenance plans to reduce cost and downtime. We expect to reduce the user’s cost of energy by an additional $1/MWh with the integration of blade life extension through the software’s watchlist and asset action recommendations.”
Adwen has used Sentient’s DigitalClone computational testing software to validate the Adwen 8MW platform drivetrain’s design and standards.