Sensors enable smarter wind farms

| Information and Communication Technology

MEMS sensor technology enables smarter and safer wind turbines

Envision Energy is using MEMS sensor technology from Analog Devices to build smarter and safer wind turbines

Envision Energy is adopting Analog Devices (ADI) MEMS sensor technology in the company’s new generation of smart wind turbines. Initial goals for the collaboration include enabling new levels of wind turbine safety through enhanced real-time monitoring of vibration, tilt and other information that can be used for safer windmill operation and design. Making use of the new capabilities offered by advanced MEMS sensors adds intelligence at the edge for real-time monitoring, further advancing the green energy revolution.

With the gradual expansion of wind power scale, turbine components are undergoing rapid iteration. Higher tower barrels, longer blades and heavier engine rooms bring great challenges for the safe and reliable operation of wind power systems.

Among the challenges, the tower barrel is one of the key windmill components requiring monitoring to ensure the safety and reliability of wind power turbines. The tower barrel extends from the ground up to the windmill generator and blades. To promote safety, as well as to help prevent tower collapse and other extreme accidents, the company is introducing predictive maintenance technology into the core control of smart wind turbines. This is done by deploying ADI’s precision inertial measurement unit (IMU) and low-noise, low-drift accelerometers on different positions of the tower barrel to monitor the key states of tower barrel in real-time. Information gathered by monitoring tower barrel conditions is used to introduce danger prevention measures.

According to Haipeng Chen, Director of Intelligent Control Division at Envision Energy, the company is working with ADI to add its predictive, precision, high-reliability MEMS sensors to its wind turbines.

“This increases the safety of the tower barrel as well as bringing the blade diameter and tower barrel height to the next level, continuing to lead the progress of the industry,” he says.

Jonathan Newell
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