Embracing disruptive digital technologies for the collection and analysis of wind turbine data offers the best route to reducing the costs of operations and maintenance programmes, according to asset and operations managers at last week’s European Technical Symposium.
Courtesy of Onyx InSight
More than half (55 percent) of the asset and operations managers attending Onyx Insight’s European Technical Symposium last week (27th to 28th March) believe that owners and operators of wind farms in Europe need to embrace disruptive digital technologies in order to maintain their position in the industry.
“Operators that continue to rely on traditional O&M practices to manage their profitability and overlook the rise of disruptive digital technologies risk losing out” said Dr John Coultate, Head of Product Development at Onyx Insight. “Failure to embrace these technologies and apply them appropriately will see them overtaken by competitors able to reliably and profitably operate wind farms at lower cost”.
MEMS sensors, which lie at the heart of the digital disruption of wind turbine monitoring are produced annually in their billions at significantly lower cost than the piezoelectric sensors they are replacing. Greater versatility means MEMS sensors can be used to capture much more data about turbine behaviour. MEMS sensors’ digital data outputs also eliminate the need for additional costly signal conditioning, making it easier for operators to run data analysis using another disruptive technology, machine learning.
A majority of attendees recognised the need for involving specialists to implement and harness the kinds of digital technologies that could be seen as disruptive. More than half said they recognised the need for 3rd party expertise to support digital integration and analysis of turbine data.
Dr Xiaoqin Ma, Head of Technology at Onyx InSight, added that the technology is here to stay and that the only barrier to adoption is access to quality data. Machine learning can make sense out of large quantity of data that human analysts might find overwhelming. With vast amounts of data being collected through hundreds of channels from every single turbine every second, ML is essential for understanding turbine condition and reducing the cost of maintenance programmes.
“Properly trained machine learning algorithms, backed up by intelligent engineering experience, can add real value to the wind energy industry” Dr Ma said. “Without the right support for quality data inputs and guidance from experts, however, users of machine learning, disappointed by its outputs, risk overlooking a powerful tool that will drive OPEX cost reductions into the future.”
Dr Ma and Dr Coultate spoke to more than 50 wind asset and operations managers from across Europe, at the Onyx InSight Technical Symposium in Manchester. Presentations and panel discussions focused on the technology trends and adoption by wind farm operators looking to drive lifetime extension and reduce the cost of operations and maintenance.
Onyx InSight will be at Wind Europe in Bilbao (Hall 3 on stand F56) from 2nd to 4th April.