Updated: Aug 18, 2021
As the world moves to utilizing more sustainable and clean energy forms, Wind Power has grown in popularity worldwide. In 2019, there was a 29% increase in the global market for Wind Power, showing that this industry is not only on the rise, but thriving. However, with an increase in wind power comes an increase in potential catastrophe - and fires that occur due to electrical failure can end up costing windmill operators millions of dollars.
According to a 2015 report, a turbine fire within a windmill can cost up to $4.5 million dollars, and this figure is estimated to have grown exponentially due to the increase in size of the windmills. Moreover, this does not account for financial damages incurred from the spread of the fire, nor for the loss of revenues incurred from halting the project to clean up.
Fires can occur due to a variety of machine failures; components inside the turbine fail, sparking or heating and igniting flammable materials such as plastics, fiberglass and hydraulic lubricants. The most frequent location for electrical faults and fires within windmills are in the transformers, which is in the base of the turbine. These transformers convert energy into the appropriate voltage, and given an electrical surge or failure, can cause fires incredibly quickly.
One way for wind power operators to combat this very costly issue is to add Airborne and Structure Based ultrasound for electrical inspection into their maintenance arsenal. https://www.ctrlsys.com/electrical-inspection-solutionsAirborne and structured-based (A&SB) ultrasound can be used to detect various electrical faults; including corona discharge, tracking, and arcing. By utilizing this powerful technology, Wind Power operators will be able to track any potential electrical failures from up to 300 feet away, ensuring that any corona discharge and tracking does not turn into costly asset failure.
Other technologies like helium leak detection are more common in the industry, but have many disadvantages, such as having operator-dependent results and the frequent need to calibrate equipment. Airborne and Acoustic ultrasound have the highest sensitivity and maximum range out of all the solutions, ensuring that no matter how large the electrical issue or how far away the transformer, potential catastrophic damages can be avoided.
CTRL is the industry leader in using A&SB to detect electrical failures, our UL101 Electrical Inspector, when combined with the Powerbeam 300, is able to detect electrical faults to prevent catastrophic fires and shutdowns, etc etc. Likewise, our Ultrasonic technology is the most sensitive in the industry, and our partners across the power generation industry agree. To see if A&SB technology for electrical inspection is right for your company, contact one of our ultrasound experts today!