Iberdrola startup
Image credit: Iberdrola

Spanish utility Iberdrola has launched a new Startup Challenge in search of innovative and competitive solutions that will help improve monitoring systems on wind farms. The company has placed a focus on solutions that can be implemented quickly, easily and inexpensively on existing turbines.

As a world leader in wind energy, Iberdrola has built experience over two decades of finding solutions that deliver greater efficiency, to reduce operating and maintenance costs to make wind power more competitive.

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The monitoring systems for wind turbines are key elements for extending the life of the wind farms. These systems collect data that make it possible for maintenance planning and early fault detection.

Pablo Collado Iberdrola’s, director of global renewable development noted: “Achieving climate change targets will only be possible if renewable energy technology continues to improve efficiency and cost competitiveness. Through this challenge we hope to discover new solutions that will help us to extend the life of our assets, which means more clean megawatts of power for homes and businesses, and continued cost reductions.”

Entry requirements:

  • Low-cost solutions or sensors.
  • Low-powered or self-powered.
  • Sensors can be implemented in wind farms already in operation with turbines from different suppliers. Special consideration will be given to the speed of installation and to making as few modifications as possible to the existing hardware.
  • Wireless and autonomous sensors — that do not need external power — will be appreciated.
  • Long-distance wireless data transmission protocols (such as LoraWAN), which enable centralised data collection at the substation or the operations and maintenance base.
  • Need of on-edge data processing to reduce the bandwidth needed to transmit the data.
  • Opening interfaces for the post-processing and sending of the raw data.
  • Multifunctional sensors that combine, for instance, temperature, pressure, humidity and triaxial vibration data.

Proposals must fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Projects should include a detailed description of the proposed solutions and any supporting information regarding feasibility and cost-effectiveness.
  • Innovative sensors and systems for monitoring the components of the drive train (main bearing and gearbox). In this category, vibration sensors, main shaft torque measurement sensors, accelerometers — including those that can go inside planetary gear trains in gearbox — will be considered.
  • Low-cost wireless sensors for measuring the temperature of rotor bearings.
  • Wireless sensors for measuring gear tooth wear, etc.
  • Wireless acoustic sensors and innovative monitoring systems for monitoring the breakage of components inside the rotor.
  • Low-cost wireless sensors for monitoring the structural behaviour of foundations, by capturing tilt, tension and low-frequency vibration (<100 Hz).

The awardees will sign a collaboration and testing agreement with PERSEO and/or with any other Iberdrola group company. PERSEO or the signatory company will assume the costs of these activities and will provide the awardees the necessary technical support, as well as a real environment and data to test the solution, giving them access to equipment, infrastructure, high-tech sites and joint work areas. Therefore, if the trial or concept testing is satisfactory, Iberdrola could offer the participant/s the chance to scale up the solution by adopting it through commercial agreements.

Applications close on the 31st of August 2020.

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