GE says it is working with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) on a study to investigate ways to improve wind farm productivity and efficiency, the results of which will directly contribute to future product and service designs.
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.
IIT students will be conducting research using GE's Proficy SmartSignal software on the wind turbine to learn how to detect faults even earlier and more accurately than currently possible.
The project includes adding more sensors 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.
"The goal of this project is to illustrate how advanced and automated predictive diagnostics can improve the availability, reliability and cost performance of wind power generation," says Mohammad Shahidehpour, IIT professor and director of the Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation. "As a result of this research, we hope to improve the sensoring and modeling of wind farms. We'll also be developing wind energy courses to address the technical, operational, social and environmental aspects of wind energy."
The project is part of a larger Department of Energy 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.