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Research partners set out to boost the availability of windfarms

19 March 2013

Research led by the University of Strathclyde could be set to improve the availability of windfarms and reduce the need for expensive, reactive maintenance.

Dr Francis Quail, director of the Centre for Advanced Condition Monitoring at the University of Strathclyde (left), with Craig McDonald, SgurrEnergy product group manager.
Dr Francis Quail, director of the Centre for Advanced Condition Monitoring at the University of Strathclyde (left), with Craig McDonald, SgurrEnergy product group manager.

The novel research testing for wind condition monitoring technologies is now underway as engineers at the University work together with industrial partners, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Scottish Enterprise.
Strathclyde’s Centre for Advanced Condition Monitoring (CACM) is leading the project with researchers developing technology to monitor the condition of wind turbine drivelines, including remote sensors to detect how they are being affected by extreme wind conditions.
The CACM, launched in 2011, is a partnership between the University, SgurrEnergy and David Brown Gear Systems. According to CACM director, Dr Francis Quail, the Centre is positioned to play an important role in helping to meet renewable energy targets for Scotland and will provide cost effective technology that maximises the potential of wind turbine operations.
“This research partnership is allowing the University of Strathclyde to develop next generation tools and solutions to enhance Scotland’s reputation as world leader in renewable energy," he adds.
The research testing will involve the deployment of wind measurement tool, Galion Lidar.  Pioneered by Scottish renewable energy consultancy, SgurrEnergy, the device is being used by researchers at the University to accurately quantify the impact of specific characteristics of the wind, such as turbulence and gust structure, on key wind turbine components and turbine life.
Testing is taking place near Glasgow at SgurrEnergy’s test facility, Carrot Moor, situated within Whitelee Windfarm – the UK’s largest onshore windfarm.
Ian Irvine, technical director at SgurrEnergy said: “Offshore wind projects can be difficult working environments and consequently costs can be extremely high. Quality information on windfarm operational performance is essential to ensure that optimum decisions can be made.”
The CACM is part of the Scottish Energy Laboratory that was launched to strengthen collaboration across Scotland’s key test and demonstration facilities. This network of facilities has a combined investment value of £250 million across all key energy sectors and will be a hub for national and international companies to identify and access the most appropriate of Scotland’s test and demonstration facilities for their technologies.
The Centre’s test resources will become part of the University’s new £89m Technology and Innovation Centre.

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