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UK uni's wind turbine control tech sparks interest from BRICs

Hull University to showcase technology for Chinese students with interest from Indian delegates

The wind turbine control technology could cut maintenance costs in offshore wind

Wind turbine control technology developed at a university in the UK has generated interested from China and India. The technology is being showcased at a workshop at the University of Hull. Chinese students are attending the event, with Indian delegates also expressing interest in seeing the technology.

The Sustainable Control of Offshore Wind Turbines event will showcase the technology, which a team of researchers have developed at the university.

CASS, the University’s business-facing hub for renewable energy and the low carbon economy, will host the workshop.  Linda Love, event organiser and administrator at CASS is thrilled about the worldwide interest the technology has generated. She said: “We have had interest from India and Rumania. We also have a number of Chinese students attending. We have individual registrations and company registrations from Spain and Germany too.”

The workshop will present Fault Detection and Diagnosis and Fault Tolerant Control systems for offshore turbines. According to the University, the systems can maintain high levels of performance in a range of wind conditions and improve fault detection and repair.

Professor Stephanie Haywood, director at CASS at the University of Hull said, of the technology: “Fault Tolerant Control of offshore wind turbines can both increase the amount of power converted from wind into usable electrical power and also limit the operating turbine speed to prevent the turbine from unsafe operation under high wind conditions.”

Haywood said operation costs need to be reduced from GBP 150 per MW to GBP 100 per MW to make offshore wind financially viable. With the maintenance costs being a significant part of offshore wind power, the wind control systems are set to cut spending in this area.

“Since around 15 per cent of the cost of offshore wind energy comes from maintenance issues, this can make a further significant contribution towards cost reduction,” she said.

In addition to cutting costs, the systems for monitoring offshore wind turbines could improve performance by combining estimation and monitoring with “fault-tolerant” control.

Professor Ron Patten, the head of the research into the turbine control at the University, said: “With a sufficiently powerful control system, the elements of a large offshore wind turbine can be optimally adjusted for harnessing wind power, allowing for much greater conversion efficiencies.”

According to Patten, control systems showcased at the event will show that it is possible for offshore wind turbines to provide sustainable electrical power over a wide range of wind speeds and to survive undamaged in bad-to-extreme weather.

The two-day workshop will be held on 19 September 2012 at the University of Hull.