A cutting-edge technology firm headquartered in Silicon Valley, California, has teamed up with a Scottish university for a project aimed at boosting the output from wind farms.
The Scottish Funding Council-supported partnership involves the Aberdeen-based UK subsidiary of Flicq, which has its headquarters in San Jose, and Robert Gordon University (RGU).
It is hoped it may lead to greatly reduced turbine downtime, making sure as little as possible of a wind farm’s generating capacity is wasted.
Static turbines are a familiar site on wind farms, leading some critics of the technology to question their reliability and efficiency.
Flicq UK and RGU are co-operating on analysing sensor data in an attempt to better predict failures. This is particularly important for the growing number of offshore wind farms, which are harder to inspect and maintain.
Wind farm operators rely on sophisticated data systems to flag if a turbine is in an unhealthy condition. It will then be shut down until a maintenance crew has inspected and, if necessary, fixed the problem.
False alarms are costly due to lost electricity generation and the cost of sending out a maintenance crew.
Flicq UK and RGU will study the relationship between sensor data from the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s Levenmouth demonstration turbine, in Fife, and alarms.
Roddy Urquhart, managing director, Flicq UK, said: “With heavy investment in offshore wind, it is important that the condition of wind turbines is accurately monitored to minimise downtime.”
Andrei Petrovski, reader in computational systems, RGU, added: “Our collaboration with Flicq UK Ltd will see us apply powerful computational approaches to improve wind turbine condition monitoring, tackling a significant challenge to the renewable energy industry.”