Supporting capacity expansion by enabling more reliable, efficient and quieter drivetrain components
Europe’s measurement capabilities will need to continue to develop to support delivery of enhanced efficiencies and reliabilities of wind energy systems (WES). The effect of the 2020 EU climate package target of 32 % of Europe’s energy use to be supplied by renewable sources by 2030 is to encourage deployment of ever-larger turbines, and capable of longer lifecycles. Improved energy transfer efficiencies, reliability, and reduced vibration and noise levels would also contribute. The EMRP DriveTrain project developed measurement standards and calibration strategies that improved engineering precision, by enabling accurate contact-scanning methods for drivetrain component surfaces. However, the sector is yet to exploit faster, more reliable, non-contact optical technologies as equivalent methods are not yet developed. WES reliability is also compromised by the lack of calibration systems for the machine tools used to manufacture these components.
The project has developed a range of new measurement capabilities. Non-contact dimensional measurement methods have been validated, improved methods of measuring component surfaces devised, a ‘digital twin’ developed to model component erosion and degradation, plus improved the accuracy of machine tool measuring stations. Together, these developments will improve WES component lifetimes and production reliability, leading to potentially more reliable, efficient, and quieter power plants, that will help drive expansion of wind energy capacity.