Blade Loads Monitoring System

Wind energy production is rapidly increasing to help satisfy growing global energy demands. In a push to reduce wind energy production costs, turbines are becoming larger and are often deployed offshore where wind speeds are higher. In this environment, high reliability and low maintenance is critical. However, the difference in wind speed at the top and bottom of the rotor span (wind shear) is greater. This leads to rotor imbalance which reduces the fatigue life of the main bearings and other drivetrain components. Individual pitch control (IPC) of the blades solves this issue by minimising fatigue loads, so extending life and reducing maintenance costs.

IPC algorithms require real-time loads data for each blade to be available at high speed. Measuring these loads with electronic sensors is impossible due to the frequency of lightning strikes to the blades. Blade load monitoring systems using optical fiber Bragg grating sensors have broad industry acceptance due to the technology’s insensitivity to lighting strike.  Smart Fibres’ optical blade loads monitoring system benefits from highly robust aerospace qualified instrumentation, a long and successful deployment history and a price point that meets industry needs. The Smart Fibres system also outputs blade bending moments that can be used for condition monitoring. The over view of IPC system, key features and specification is available for download.