Article

New system tracks turbine function

Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories have designed a data system which can continuously track the performance and of large wind turbines that produce electricity. The project, called Accurate Time Linked Data Acquisition System II, is contained in shoebox-sized aluminum structure that contains data-collection equipment and lightning protectors.

Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories have designed a data system which can continuously track the performance and of large wind turbines that produce electricity.

The project, called Accurate Time Linked Data Acquisition System II, is contained in shoebox-sized aluminum structure that contains data-collection equipment and lightning protectors.

The box is attached to commercial wind turbines — up to 80 meters tall — where it can transmit information about the efficiency of converting wind power to electricity, for example, and how the equipment is holding up.

The information can be transmitted from a wireless antenna or by a data line. The difference with this new system is that it can be used to relay continuous information without shutting down the turbines, lead engineer Jose Zayas explained.

Sandia has been involved in developing new wind-turbine blades since the 1990s.
“As part of that, one needs to collect information from these machines,” he said.

For example, Sandia’s Wind Energy Technology Department has developed a wind turbine blade made of carbon fiber, fiberglass and balsawood called the CX 100 design. Making an entire blade out of carbon fiber is expensive, Zayas explained, and that... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories have designed a data system which can continuously track the performance and of large wind turbines that produce electricity.

The project, called Accurate Time Linked Data Acquisition System II, is contained in shoebox-sized aluminum structure that contains data-collection equipment and lightning protectors.

The box is attached to commercial wind turbines — up to 80 meters tall — where it can transmit information about the efficiency of converting wind power to electricity, for example, and how the equipment is holding up.

The information can be transmitted from a wireless antenna or by a data line. The difference with this new system is that it can be used to relay continuous information without shutting down the turbines, lead engineer Jose Zayas explained.

Sandia has been involved in developing new wind-turbine blades since the 1990s.
“As part of that, one needs to collect information from these machines,” he said.

For example, Sandia’s Wind Energy Technology Department has developed a wind turbine blade made of carbon fiber, fiberglass and balsawood called the CX 100 design. Making an entire blade out of carbon fiber is expensive, Zayas explained, and that project was an effort to find placed where the carbon fiber had to go.

Commercial wind-turbine blades are usually 30 to 50 meters long, Zayas said. A typical steel tower is 80 meters tall, has a concrete foundation and includes a gear box and generator. These units, used at wind farms around the world, cost about $2 million to make. Their life span is about 20 years.

“In a good wind site, wind energy is very cost effective,” Zayas said.

A wind farm can be established in just six months, he said, which is far less than a coal or nuclear power plant.

Today, less than 1 percent of the country’s electric power comes from wind energy, Zayas said. In Denmark, it’s 20 percent.

But interest in wind energy apparently is increasing. Most utility-sized turbines are sold out for the next two years in the United States and Europe, he said.

“So that’s very good for wind energy,” Zayas said.

There are 136 wind turbines located near the village of House on New Mexico’s eastern plains, according to the Public Service Company of New Mexico. Those turbines each generate 1.5 megawatts of electricity each, for a total of 204 megawatts at maximum capacity. That’s roughly 9 percent of the state’s demand, Zayas noted.

Sandia’s wind energy group is also working to make the technology work in other places.

“We want to make wind energy cost competitive in lower wind sites,” Zayas said.

Contact Andy Lenderman at 995-3827 or alenderman@sfnewmexican.com.


Source: http://www.freenewmexican.c...

AUG 26 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/4192-new-system-tracks-turbine-function
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