Software tool for cost reduction

Tuesday, 15 December, 2015 - 11:00

Researchers at Robert Gordon University are developing a software tool which aims to dramatically cut maintenance costs for offshore wind turbines.

A Robert Gordon University (RGU) team, including Head of the School of Engineering Professor John Steel and PhD student Yashwant Sinha, is developing a tool which would ensure that companies were able to carry out turbine maintenance and spares holding in the most efficient manner. By inputting specific information generated by an offshore wind farm into the tool, it would then automatically generate an optimal maintenance programme and critical spares holding inventory tailored to those turbines. This would minimise the direct costs of maintaining the wind farm and maximise the availability and reliability of offshore wind farms and associated grid connections to ensure lowest whole life cycle costs.

“Currently, many of the maintenance regimes for wind farms are quite random, and we want to try and develop a system that will predict the failure of components and allow companies to carry out pre-planned action to lower the costs of maintenance. For this, we are developing a software tool that can assist in the timings of failures and the parts that would be needed”, Sinha said.

“At present the cost of offshore wind turbine maintenance is as high as 35 % of the total lifetime costs which equates to £14 billion a year for the 150 GW of offshore wind turbines which are predicted to be installed in Europe by 2030. The software tool being developed will assist companies to cut down on some of the costs and could save a lot of money which could then potentially be passed on to the consumer”, he continued.

Steel added: “Maintenance of wind turbines is costly and schemes designed to evaluate its failures will be an important step, not only towards improving reliability but also enabling companies to plan for a maintenance programme based on data from that particular wind farm.”

Katharina Garus / RGU

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