Condition Monitoring

Condition Monitoring and Prognosis of Utility Scale Wind Turbines

R. W. Hyers, J. G. McGowan, K. L. Sullivan, J. F. Manwell and B. C. Syrett

Condition monitoring systems estimate the current condition of a machine from sensor measurements,
whereas prognosis systems give a probabilistic forecast of the future condition of the machine
under the projected usage conditions. Current condition monitoring practice in wind turbine rotors
involves tracking rotor imbalance, aerodynamic asymmetry, surface roughness and overall
performance and offline and online measurements of stress and strain. Related technologies for
monitoring of load history and fatigue crack growth in aircraft structures are evaluated for their
applicability to wind turbine blades.

In this 2006 article in Energy Materials, the state of the art in condition monitoring of electronic controls, power electronics and towers is also evaluated and compared with the state of the art in aerospace. Based on these comparisons, technology needs and future challenges for the development of condition monitoring and prognosis for large wind machines, both onshore and offshore, are summarized. Read more.