Wind turbine energy generation: reliability problems and solutions
While wind is enjoying significant growth, studies confirm that wind turbines suffer from reliability issues: The EU’s RELIAWIND study found that electrical systems accounted for the highest failure rate, but gearbox failures accounted for the highest amount of downtime (14 days)1.
The National Renewable Energy laboratory found that the majority of wind turbine gearbox failures are caused by bearings (76.2%) and gears (17.3%)2. Figure 1 displays the annual failure rate and downtime per failure by component.
The costs of maintenance
Maintenance is essential to prevent failures but ongoing operation and maintenance is costly, representing around 25% of the total cost of the wind turbine over its lifetime4. These high costs cause some wind turbine owners to skip maintenance: Insurer G-Cube cited the top cause of a claim as poor maintenance, at 24.5% of total claim costs, with claims involving gearbox failure costing on average $380,000 to rectify5.
Here we present our technology, REWITEC, a microparticle-based lubricant additive that has been proven to repair existing damage and protect the system for the future, improving reliability in wind turbine gears and bearings.
A lifespan of 20 – 30 years is expected for commercial wind turbines. During use, both the gearbox and bearings are affected by wear, to the extent that these components must be replaced over the life of the wind turbine. These replacement components are associated with downtime and loss of generating capacity as well as significantly increasing operation and maintenance costs.
Part of Croda International plc, REWITEC GmbH is a medium-sized German company. We offer an efficient solution for the problems described above. REWITEC develops innovative and patented technology consisting of phyllosilicates in the form of micro and nano particles with several other additives that have a protective and repairing effect.