E.ON, Romax to predict turbine life

European wind power developer E.ON Climate & Renewables has brought on drive-train designer Romax to fashion a software that will predict the life left in a turbine's componentry.

The Equivalent Operating Hours (EOH) programme uses algorithm-based calculations to feed back real-time forecast updates of the "remaining useful life" of transmission system parts, factoring in service history and local operating conditions.

“Without planning beforehand, maintenance of offshore wind turbines can be time consuming and costly," states Nigel Parlor, Romax's contract relationship manager. "Operations typically require specialist equipment such as jack-up vessels and cranes which have to be factored into specific ‘weather windows’.

“With the EOH programme, we aim to provide wind turbine owners and operators with the ability to pre-empt when turbine drivetrain components are coming to their end of life and consequently be in a position to schedule any maintenance in advance."

Operations and maintenance costs can tot-up to 25% of the cost of a wind power project.

The EOH programme, started in 2010 as a project on an E.On offshore wind farm, has been rolled out to a further four developments, with plans to wrap the scheme in 2017.

E.ON Climate & Renewables director of technology and innovation Jörgen Bodin notes:“Early indications have suggested a significant ROI [return on investment] from using this predictive programme.

"We hope that the project will transform wind energy operations and maintenance through more targeted and proactive activity, which in turn will improve the running cost and increase reliability.”