Challenge

The main challenge of DOCC-OFF will be to validate the sensors, remote monitoring systems and big data analytics tools that will allow to obtain data from the pitch system, which is the technology used to operate and control the angle of the blades in a wind turbine.

  • The cost of wind power generated in offshore wind farms has dropped dramatically, to a great extent as a result of new auction systems which have forced developers and investors in windfarms to reduce costs both at investment and operational levels.
  • Component suppliers for wind farms are under great pressure of cost reduction from their customers: windfarm developers and wind turbine OEMs.
  • The European wind turbine component suppliers conform a well positioned sector today. But these companies are being challenged by low-cost competitors. For that reason European companies are exploring innovative and added-value strategies for differentiation and niche competitive advantages.
  • European companies in the offshore wind value chain are envisaging the digitalization of wind turbine components and systems as a main source of relevant competitive advantages: Design optimization, O&M cost reduction, Potential new services
  • Advances in digitization, communications and data analytics, both in terms of functionality and cost reduction, are making possible to deliver solutions that allow extracting data from operations and generating business value from it.
source: HINE

The results will have a relevant impact on the improvement of competitiveness of the DOCC-OFF partners (but also of other companies along the offshore wind value chain), making offshore wind a competitive technology between other power generation alternatives traduced into OPEX and CAPEX reductions.

Wind turbine components manufacturers have already started to implement sensors and data collection systems in the wind turbines they are providing and installing. However, efficient proven concepts have not been demonstrated yet, due to a technological gap: significant technology validation is still needed to achieve new products and services ready for commercialization. Sensors and remote monitoring systems are yet to be extensively implemented in offshore energy generation facilities, as they currently provide little information that may be used in advance to any incident.

Regarding the components to be monitored in an offshore wind turbine, the challenges are quite diverse and mostly seen relating to: design of electrical infrastructure, structural design and material choice for aggressive environmental and seasonal conditions, site assessment and optimal set-up, substructures, installation methods, logistics, technical service access, operations & maintenance, etc.

source: HINE

All these aspects have their importance in component reliability and resulting downtimes in wind farm operation. In the DOCC-OFF project, the pitch system (and its different components) has been identified as one of the most critical components on a wind turbine, from the point of view of the failure rates and the performance rates reduction resulting from these failures.

DOCC-OFF focuses on addressing the technology gap in the pitch system digitalization and the real data availability for a reliable validation process.