The tracking system works on new, longer blades, and can also be retrofitted to older wind farms
Spotted: Considered a cost-efficient source of renewable energy, wind farms are under near-constant pressure to produce more power as quickly as possible. To help meet the demand, designers and manufacturers are working to create ever longer blades. While the longer blades produce more power, they also require additional maintenance. Current monitoring systems are not built to track the full length of the world’s largest blades, and updated materials technologies are also adding complexity to such oversight, with designs that bend more and in multiple directions.
One company seeking to provide a smart solution to the growth of the industry is Porto and Rotterdam-based Fibersail. Fibersail is piloting its shape-sensing wind turbine blade monitoring system in five European locations. The shape sensor tracks the full shape and curvature of each blade, identifying the most efficient positions for each turbine.
The continuous monitoring also provides owners and maintenance managers with the means to detect when a part is working below capacity – much earlier than is currently possible. Rotor and blade loads are adjustable—depending on weather conditions and local needs—and the system helps calculate the volume of production that maximises the lifetime capacity of each turbine.
A recent funding round is helping the startup to expand its team, and the company is seeking industry partners for further pilot sites.
Written by: Keely Khoury