skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Wind Turbine Drivetrain Reliability Collaborative Workshop: A Recap

Abstract

The Wind Turbine Drivetrain Reliability Collaborative Workshop was convened by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory, and the U.S. Department of Energy to explore the state of the art in wind turbine drivetrain mechanical system reliability as well as research and development (R&D) challenges that if solved could have significant benefits. The workshop was held at the Research Support Facility on NREL's main campus in Golden, Colorado, from February 16-17, 2016. More than 120 attendees participated from industry, academia, and government. Plenary presentations covered wind turbine drivetrain design, testing, and analysis; tribology -- the science and engineering of interacting surfaces in relative motion -- and failure modes; and condition monitoring and data analytics. In addition to the presentations, workshops were held in each of these areas to discuss R&D challenges. This report serves as a summary of the presentations, workshops, and conclusions on R&D challenges in wind turbine drivetrain reliability.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [2]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Wind and Water Technologies Office (EE-4W)
OSTI Identifier:
1314863
Report Number(s):
NREL/TP-5000-66593; DOE/GO-102016-4878
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
16 TIDAL AND WAVE POWER; wind turbine; drivetrain; reliability; research; workshop; NREL

Citation Formats

Keller, Jonathan, Sheng, Shuangwen, Cotrell, Jason, and Greco, Aaron. Wind Turbine Drivetrain Reliability Collaborative Workshop: A Recap. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1314863.
Keller, Jonathan, Sheng, Shuangwen, Cotrell, Jason, & Greco, Aaron. Wind Turbine Drivetrain Reliability Collaborative Workshop: A Recap. United States. doi:10.2172/1314863.
Keller, Jonathan, Sheng, Shuangwen, Cotrell, Jason, and Greco, Aaron. Mon . "Wind Turbine Drivetrain Reliability Collaborative Workshop: A Recap". United States. doi:10.2172/1314863. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1314863.
@article{osti_1314863,
title = {Wind Turbine Drivetrain Reliability Collaborative Workshop: A Recap},
author = {Keller, Jonathan and Sheng, Shuangwen and Cotrell, Jason and Greco, Aaron},
abstractNote = {The Wind Turbine Drivetrain Reliability Collaborative Workshop was convened by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory, and the U.S. Department of Energy to explore the state of the art in wind turbine drivetrain mechanical system reliability as well as research and development (R&D) challenges that if solved could have significant benefits. The workshop was held at the Research Support Facility on NREL's main campus in Golden, Colorado, from February 16-17, 2016. More than 120 attendees participated from industry, academia, and government. Plenary presentations covered wind turbine drivetrain design, testing, and analysis; tribology -- the science and engineering of interacting surfaces in relative motion -- and failure modes; and condition monitoring and data analytics. In addition to the presentations, workshops were held in each of these areas to discuss R&D challenges. This report serves as a summary of the presentations, workshops, and conclusions on R&D challenges in wind turbine drivetrain reliability.},
doi = {10.2172/1314863},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Mon Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • Micropitting is a Hertzian fatigue phenomenon that affects many wind turbine gearboxes, and it affects the reliability of the machines. With the major growth and increasing dependency on renewable energy, mechanical reliability is an extremely important issue. The U.S. Department of Energy has made a commitment to improving wind turbine reliability and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has started a gearbox reliability project. Micropitting as an issue that needed attention came to light through this effort. To understand the background of work that had already been accomplished, and to consolidate some level of collective understanding of the issue bymore » acknowledged experts, NREL hosted a wind turbine micropitting workshop, which was held at the National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colorado, on April 15 and 16, 2009.« less
  • This report presents key findings from the Department of Energy's Advanced Drivetrain Workshop, held on June 29-30, 2010 in Broomfield, Colorado, to assess different advanced drivetrain technologies, their relative potential to improve the state-of-the-art in wind turbine drivetrains, and the scope of research and development needed for their commercialization in wind turbine applications.
  • This report presents key findings from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Drivetrain Workshop, held on June 29-30, 2010, to assess different advanced drivetrain technologies, their relative potential to improve the state-of-the-art in wind turbine drivetrains, and the scope of research and development needed for their commercialization in wind turbine applications.
  • Clipper Windpower, in collaboration with United Technologies Research Center, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation, developed a low-cost, deflection-compliant, reliable, and serviceable chain drive speed increaser. This chain and sprocket drivetrain design offers significant breakthroughs in the areas of cost and serviceability and addresses the key challenges of current geared and direct-drive systems. The use of gearboxes has proven to be challenging; the large torques and bending loads associated with use in large multi-MW wind applications have generally limited demonstrated lifetime to 8-10 years [1]. The large cost of gearbox replacement and the required use of large,more » expensive cranes can result in gearbox replacement costs on the order of $1M, representing a significant impact to overall cost of energy (COE). Direct-drive machines eliminate the gearbox, thereby targeting increased reliability and reduced life-cycle cost. However, the slow rotational speeds require very large and costly generators, which also typically have an undesirable dependence on expensive rare-earth magnet materials and large structural penalties for precise air gap control. The cost of rare-earth materials has increased 20X in the last 8 years representing a key risk to ever realizing the promised cost of energy reductions from direct-drive generators. A common challenge to both geared and direct drive architectures is a limited ability to manage input shaft deflections. The proposed Clipper drivetrain is deflection-compliant, insulating later drivetrain stages and generators from off-axis loads. The system is modular, allowing for all key parts to be removed and replaced without the use of a high capacity crane. Finally, the technology modularity allows for scalability and many possible drivetrain topologies. These benefits enable reductions in drivetrain capital cost by 10.0%, levelized replacement and O&M costs by 26.7%, and overall cost of energy by 10.2%. This design was achieved by: (1) performing an extensive optimization study that deter-mined the preliminary cost for all practical chain drive topologies to ensure the most competitive configuration; (2) conducting detailed analysis of chain dynamics, contact stresses, and wear and efficiency characteristics over the chain's life to ensure accurate physics-based predictions of chain performance; and (3) developing a final product design, including reliability analysis, chain replacement procedures, and bearing and sprocket analysis. Definition of this final product configuration was used to develop refined cost of energy estimates. Finally, key system risks for the chain drive were defined and a comprehensive risk reduction plan was created for execution in Phase 2.« less
  • Gearbox failures have a significant impact on the cost of wind farm operations. To help minimize gearbox failures, in 2007 the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) initiated the Gearbox Reliability Collaborative (GRC), which consists of manufacturers, owners, researchers, and consultants. Based on all the lessons learned from the past five years, the GRC has now produced a new and improved design, which is projected to yield an operating lifetime of 12 years, more than triple that of the previous redesigned gearbox. The GRC findings will result in increased gearbox reliability and an overall reduction in the cost of wind energy.