On 5 and 6 of May 2014, the 11 partners of the European collaborative project TowerPower met in Aix-en-Provence, France, to launch a programme of work to develop a remote real-time monitoring system for ageing diagnosis of offshore wind turbine structures. This development meets a real demand from offshore wind park operators looking to reduce maintenance costs by increasing the time period between on-site inspections.
The project will last three years with a budget close to 2 M?.
Co-ordinated by the Capenergies cluster (FR), the TowerPower project team comprises:
- organisations from the wind energy sector, to carry out the dissemination and exploitation scheme: Capenergies (FR), Cylsolar (ES) et Associazione Italiana Prouver non Distruttive - AIPnD (IT)
- small and medium-sized enterprises interested in the new technology, to help direct the work programme: Kingston Computer Consulting - KCC (UK), Moniteye (UK), Teknisk Data AS (NO), WLB (CY) et TecopySA (ES)
- research centres to take charge of system design, development and validation: CETIM (FR), Innora (GR) et TWI (UK).
A typical substructure for an offshore wind turbine generator consists of a foundation structure (piles/buckets), a monopile/jacket, a transition piece and a tower. The project will study the main ageing phenomena:
- instances of fatigue cracking in the support towers
- flange bolts at the ends of the tower sections becoming loose
- higher than expected levels of vibration, which could cause either of the above mechanisms
- degradation of the grouted joint between the pile and transition piece in offshore installations.
Relying on a network of sensors of various natures, on amplifying electronics and on advanced signal processing algorithms, the TowerPower solution will enable self-learning of the normal behavior "signature" of the structure and detect any deviation from the initial record. Meanwhile, the system will contribute to a better understanding of physic-chemical phenomena leading to flaws triggering.
The intellectual property generated through the project, including eventual patent applications, will be jointly owned by the participating associations, which may include licence agreements with participating SMEs, their member companies and even other companies in the world according to the business opportunities.
Capenergies and the wind energy industry as a whole will benefit from the development of a remarkable instrument, regionally and beyond. For Capenergies, this will be in line with its strategic priorities and those of the PACA region in the frame of its 'smart specialization'.
To find out more please visit the TowerPower website or contact us.
The TowerPower project is co-financed by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development. The content of this publication reflects only the author's views and the European Union is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.