Wind Turbine Catastrophic Failures Ne...

Wind Turbine Catastrophic Failures New England

Posted in the Massachusetts Forum

Bill Carson

Mattapoisett, MA

#1 Nov 4, 2012
JaKe PPSC 1290- A120 wind turbine gearbox ! Do they have problems ?

Many commercial wind turbines built in 2008 and forward have had or are having catastrophic gear box failures. All within three years!

Wind turbines in Portsmouth ,Rhode Island ,Princeton,Massachusetts ,Otis Air Force Base and many other locations around the county have had major gear box failures. The major costs include a new gear box,a special crane ($100,000) and down time of the turbine.

Customers who include local cities and towns were sold these turbines as if they would last twenty years. Communities were never told the operation and maintenance costs and someone to service the turbines needs 24/7.

The current theory is that all the JaKe gear box 1290 series made at that time had the wrong main bearings installed.

Note #
JaKe - Jahnel-Kestermann Getriebewerke GmbH
Joe Hogan

Providence, RI

#2 Nov 7, 2012

About the Gearbox Reliability Collaborative

Premature gearbox failures have a significant impact on the cost of wind farm operations. In 2007, NREL initiated the Gearbox Reliability Collaborative (GRC). The project combines analysis, field testing, dynamometer testing, condition monitoring, and the development and population of a gearbox failure database in a multi-pronged approach to determine why wind turbine gearboxes do not always achieve their expected design lifeĀ—the time period that manufacturers expect them to last.

The collaborative of manufacturers, owners, researchers, and consultants focuses on gearbox modeling and testing and the development of a gearbox failure database. Collaborative members also investigate gearbox condition monitoring techniques. Data gained from the GRC will enable designers, developers, and manufacturers to improve gearbox designs and testing standards and create more robust modeling tools.

GRC project essentials include the development of two identical, heavily instrumented representative gearboxes. Knowledge gained from the field and dynamometer tests conducted on these gearboxes builds an understanding of how the selected loads and events translate into bearing and gear response. The GRC evaluates the current wind turbine gearbox gear and bearing analytical tools and models, develops new tools and models, and recommends improvements to design and certification standards. In addition, the GRC investigates condition monitoring methods to improve turbine availability. Development of the GRC Failure Database provides the means for multiple partners to document root cause analyses in a tool that identifies key failure trends. Once identified, the trends allow researchers to focus on the solution to gearbox challenges and the database provides a method to measure improvements.

NREL and its GRC partners have been able to identify shortcomings in the design, testing, and operation of wind turbines that contribute to reduced gearbox reliability. In contrast to private investigations of these problems, GRC findings are quickly shared among GRC participants, including many wind turbine manufacturers and equipment suppliers. Ultimately, the findings are made public for use throughout the wind industry. This knowledge is already resulting in increased gearbox reliability and an overall reduction in the cost of wind energy, and continues to be used to achieve even better performance.

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