Wind Turbine Fires -How Do They Start ?

Wind Turbine Fires -How Do They Start ?

Posted in the Falmouth Forum

Bill Carson

Mattapoisett, MA

#1 Nov 1, 2012
Authorities are always investigating what causes commercial wind turbines to catch fire .They always say the cause of the fire is not known. The public never finds out the cause of the fire.

Here is some food for thought.

The wind turbine gearbox is exposed to high heat.To date no gear oil has been invented to withstand the pressures produced within these transmissions. Several cases occurred where the housings of wind turbines caught fire. As housings are out of the range of standard fire extinguishing equipment. The wind turbine fire is a catastrophe.

A gear box is commonly used for stepping up the speed of the generator. The gear box holds about 200 gallons of caustic inflammable gear oil.

The owners of these wind turbines get advanced warnings of a impending gear box failure by the number of microns of metal grindings in oil samples in the gear box. Once the metal shows up in the oil it's generally too late and the turbine needs a gear box replacement. The cost between 600 thousand and one million.

The turbine gear boxes have been failing within 5 years of the start of brand new turbines. The owners order a new gear box to be installed on site .The problem is the owner will run the old gear box in the turbine until it breaks down completely. Then replace the gear box with the one on hand .

What's the gamble here ? It's simple the owners gamble there will be no fire ! How often is this going on ?

The Massachusetts Military Reservation (Otis Air Force Base) received and installed its 1.5-MW Fuhrlander turbine in late fall 2009. The turbine has a gear box failure.

The gear box made by Jake ,a German company has had gear box failures in Portsmouth ,Rhode Island and Princeton ,Massachusetts. The turbine was built and finished December 15, 2009.

The Otis AFB turbine is still operating with a broken gear box ! Does this put the public at risk ?

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