- Number 286 |
- May 11, 2009
NREL investigates wind turbine reliability
NREL senior engineer Shuangwen
Sheng inspects the monitoring
system for the long-term gearbox
reliability study at NREL's National
Wind Technology Center.
Engineers at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory want to know why some gearboxes and other key wind turbine components wear out too soon. Wind turbines are expected to operate for 20 years. Early equipment fatigue threatens to reduce performance and drive up wind power costs. "The end users and the owner-operators say we're only getting five years, or in some cases, three years out of these gearboxes," said NREL principal engineer Sandy Butterfield, who is leading the Gearbox Reliability Collaborative. Initially, the gearboxes are being tested at NREL's National Wind Technology Center before testing at a Colorado wind farm under real conditions.
[Joe Verrengia, 303.275.3891],