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Research Agenda

Conditioning Monitoring Systems

The installation of conditioning monitoring capability for gearboxes and blades, widely considered possibilities for improving fleet reliability, could assist in a better characterization of these industry-wide issues.

Lighting Effects

Wind turbines in the West often face issues and shut down due to lightning events. Frequency and magnitude of lighting strikes can be monitored and grounding techniques assessed. Structural performance, sensitivity to electromagnetic effects, and training for proper grounding techniques could be performed including detection, damage assessment tools, ancillary effects, cumulative damage, measures for mitigation, etc.

Homeland Security

Explore possible wind turbine sizes, effects, locations, or operations that may be of concern and deserving of further study.

Operations and Maintenance (O&M)

A comprehensive cataloging of operations and maintenance activities could be analyzed for time, requirements, tools and materials, transportation, and safety. Results could be incorporated into training requirements.

Power Conversion and Grid Interface

The turbine’s electronic power converter offers enhanced utility interface functions and this is a point of investigation for overall wind farm efficiencies and utility operation. The grid interface could be monitored for power quality, and distributed generation applications.

Sensor Characterization and Non-Destructive Testing

Research to characterize new sensor technologies is critical to improve wind turbine efficiencies. The research turbine provides an excellent platform to test and evaluate advanced sensor concepts. Non-destructive testing techniques can be evaluated to improve O&M and minimize turbine downtime.

Reliability, Tracking, Availability, Maintainability, Safety (RAMS)

The College’s turbine offers practical and hands-on research of availability, maintainability, and safety parameters. Safety, in particular is highly important because of the human consequences and the need to minimize both risks and effects. As part of Operations and Maintenance (O&M) training, systems for tracking component failure rates, in terms of reliability analysis metrics such as mean time between failures, mean time to repair, availability impacts and spare parts consumption, can be integrated into the O&M curriculum. Ongoing inspection, monitoring, and tracking of durability or degradation of materials and components could be part of O&M training.

Repair of Critical Components

Research into areas for onsite repair of critical components could be made to minimize replacement impacts. Assessment of candidate components, repair capabilities, research into repair techniques, capabilities, tools and training could enable cost savings in O&M for wind farms.

Supervisor Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and other Data Collection Systems – Operational control and time series data collection systems will enable analysis of a wide array of operating, off-normal and fault conditions. Turbine performance and structural data acquisition analysis could offer a rich data set for future R&D. A remote performance testing capability with enhanced data capability offers opportunities for partnership throughout the US.

Visual Considerations

Visual impacts of wind farms are an issue of acceptance in some areas. Also, FAA daytime and nighttime visibility requirements and compliance methods can be tested. Neighborhood acceptance of the visual impact, as well as varying methods to reduce visual impact can be surveyed.