Reliable wind energy: Improving the reputation of wind energy
The wind is a plentiful source of renewable energy, and turbines produce no greenhouse gases in operation. In 2017, wind power became the largest source of renewable electricity, contributing 17.5 % of energy and 30.7 % of electricity consumed in EU states. The target set for the proportion of total energy sourced from renewables in the EU is 32 % by 2030, but continued growth prospects could be compromised by mechanical failures of Wind Energy Systems (WES). Measurement inaccuracies can lead to excess wear to turbine drivetrains, while surface imperfections also reduce gear reliability. Traceable measurement standards and accurate techniques for measuring surface quality were needed to improve the reliability of large WES components and enhance competitiveness.
This project developed measurement techniques for WES components and traceable measurement standards to enable component manufacturers to increase the reliability of drivetrains.
• Developed the first measurement standards and calibration procedures capable of establishing traceability and measurement uncertainty for WES gears and bearings.
• Established traceability and uncertainty estimations for WES drivetrain components.
• Developed design modules and numerical models to simulate sources of error in measuring large components.
• Developed and tested Good Practice Guides for measuring dimensional and surface properties of WES drivetrain components.
The availability of measurement standards means, for the first time, that the wind energy industry can reliably measure dimensions of drivetrain components.
During the project, both Zeiss and Hexagon incorporated the new knowledge of measurement uncertainty sources to make their measuring machines more accurate and provide traceability to customers in the wind industry.
Having developed its software and invested in a Zeiss Xenos coordinate measuring machine, in 2019, CMI launched an accredited gear calibration service. The first customer was Solar Turbines EAME sro, based in Žatec, Czech Republic, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. and one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial gas turbines.
Traceable measurements will enable the manufacture of more reliable WES components, enabling increased reliability and therefore more attractive returns from wind energy investments, while helping EU states to meet renewable energy targets and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.