January 11, 2012
GE, Charlottesville, Va., has announced it is working with Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) to investigate ways to improve wind farm productivity and efficiency. The results of the study will contribute directly to future product and service designs. The project is part of a larger Department of Energy (DOE) investment of $9 million to an IIT-led consortium to enhance the leadership role of the U.S. in testing and producing the most advanced and efficient wind turbines in the world.
The two-year project will focus on helping wind farms to reduce maintenance costs and improve availability through predictions of impending problems. The project’s research will be conducted near Marseilles, Ill., on a GE 1.5 MW series wind turbine operated and maintained by Invenergy, a large, independent wind power generation company.
“With skyrocketing costs, wind farms need to know ahead of time what needs to be fixed—and what doesn’t,” said Stacey Kacek, GE Intelligent Platforms general manager, Asset Intelligence. “If they have credible early warning of impending equipment problems, the farms can prioritize tower inspections, optimize crane usage, and leverage resources in remote locations. Being able to avoid surprises and take control of maintenance in a proactive way translates to significant cost savings for the industry.”
IIT students will be conducting research using GE’s Proficy SmartSignal software on the GE wind turbine to learn how to detect faults early and accurately. The project includes adding more sensors than the industry standard to improve condition-monitoring precision and enhancing the SmartSignal models to include measurements of vibration, lube oil, and blade pitch motors. The IIT team will monitor the turbine remotely from the IIT campus and analyze the energy output and overall equipment performance.
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