A Navarre consortium develops a health monitoring system for modular wind blades
The Navarre-based companies Nabrawind and Aresse and AIN (Navarre Industry Association) are developing a project to monitor the structural health of the modular blades that the wind energy sector expects to massively implement in the upcoming years. This project is included under the umbrella of Digital Alliances Projects 2022-23 promoted by the Government of Navarra.
The blades are one of the most sensitive parts of a wind turbine and, in fact, are responsible for a relevant percentage of the failures in a wind turbine. These failures lead to undesired shutdowns in wind farms and reduce their productivity while increasing their costs with laborious repair maneuvers.
Consequently, modifying the blade design by introducing a discontinuity zone and off-site assembly is perceived as increasing the risk of breakage. In addition, as this is a technology that has only recently been incorporated into the market, there are insufficient records to demonstrate its reliability. All this makes the application of monitoring systems to this technology essential to ensure its deployment and achieve a robust market introduction.
Thus, the three Navarre-based entities are undertaking this new project, called Healh Monitoring of modular wind turbine blades through the development of digital twins and the integration of advanced sensors.
Specifically, the Navarre consortium will use the modular blade joint developed by Nabrawind, called Nabrajoint®, as a study bank for the development of this project, which will culminate with the creation of the so-called Digital Twin of the blade joint. This is a software capable of hybridizing real data from the wind turbine site, the turbine and the joint itself with simulations that, ultimately, combined with AI systems, will make it possible to establish the real state of the modular blade and, consequently, improve the reliability of the modular blades.
In this line, the project that the Navarre entities are developing pursues four strategic objectives that will benefit both the wind power industry and the Navarre industry itself:
- Reduction of the environmental impact and promotion of the circular economy, thanks to the implementation of modular blades and the advantages that this entails in logistical and environmental terms.
- Improvement in the reliability of the modular blades, thanks to the health monitoring system of the blades, which will make up for the lack of operating records of this technology and the perception that they are less safe than traditional blades.
- Extending the life of wind farms. The availability of monitoring systems, such as Health Monitoring, will make it possible to verify the condition of the wind farms and demonstrate that they are in correct operating conditions and, consequently, they will be able to extend their useful life.
- Finally, the project led by these three companies from Navarra will confirm Navarra as a pioneering region in wind energy.
About Nabrawind Technologies
Nabrawind Technologies S.L. is a Spanish Company founded in 2015 for the design and development of advanced wind technologies. Current shareholders are the founders and the financial investors Barinaga y Alberdi, Sodena, Innoenergy and Basarro.
Nabrajoint consists of a modular blade joint compatible with any blade that allow manufacturing large blades in separate modules that are assembled on site in a short period of time.
Nabrabase is a foundation solution for complex soils (very hard or very soft) and markets with a shortage of concrete or high labor costs. The tripod structure allows dividing massive gravity foundations into deep foundations with concrete reductions of up to 80%.
Nabralift is a self-erecting tower that can reach heights of 200 meters without the need for large cranes, providing minimum LCOE and breaking logistic and installation barriers.
BladeRunner is a new blade installation and de-installation system that reduces the cost of blade replacement up to a 70% compared to maintenance operations carried out with standard cranes.
Finally, Skylift is a new game changer product that allows to install the whole wind turbine at 15 m/s, a clear enabler of the new multi gigawatt wind farms planned for green hydrogen production at sites with high wind speed average.
AIN is non-profit association recognized as technological centre, gathered 130 companies mainly manufacturers (agri-food, automotive, machine producers. Etc) recognized as industrial transformation cluster (AEI) and we are a contact point for the Enterprise Europe Network EEN.
Our expertise from technological areas are: environmental and engineering division: Energy efficiency (H2 – Biogas), energy audits and measurement implementation, lean production, waste and heat efficiency (district heating), water recovery, predictive maintenance monitoring, life cycle assessment, New facilities for new uses of renewable energy and application of new energy efficiency technologies, advanced materials and tribology, assessment and environmental projects, advanced surface technologies and materials such as functional coatings, thermochemical treatments, as well as synthesis and complex chemical formulations for different application sectors. Advanced Materials Division: Agrotechnology, organic waste valorisation, new fertilizer and phytosanitary development through active compounds encapsulations. Also, expertise on surface technologies and materials such as functional coatings, thermochemical treatments, as well as synthesis and complex chemical formulations for different application sectors.
We also have expertise in managing programmes: Digital transformation planes (I4.0), strategic planning, organisational agile transformation (to adopt digitization), technical training. AIN is a member of the EDIH IRIS https://www.irisnavarra.com/ and we are managing a Digital Accelerator Office for SME https://oapiris.ain.es/
AIN is active in few EU platforms:
-The Vanguard Initiative ESM pilot (Efficient and Sustainable Manufacturing), AI & HMI
– S3Industrial Modernization: Smart Sensors 4 Agri-food SS4AF, AI & HMI
Process4Plante (former SPIRE), Raw Materials Alliance EU, European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, EPT-nanomedicine, European Technology Platform in Additive Manufacturing, European Clean Hydrogen Alliance and S3IM Hydrogen Valleys platform.