REAL-TIME MONITORING OF WIND CONVERTERS BASED ON SOFTWARE AGENTS
Due to increasing numbers of wind energy converters, the accurate assessment of the lifespan of their structural parts and the entire converter system is becoming more and more paramount. Lifespan-oriented design, inspections and remedial maintenance are challenging because of their complex dynamic behavior. Wind energy converters are subjected to stochastic turbulent wind loading causing corresponding stochastic structural response and vibrations associated with an extreme number of stress cycles (up to 109 according to the rotation of the blades). Currently, wind energy converters are constructed for a service life of about 20 years. However, this estimation is more or less made by rule of thumb and not backed by profound scientific analyses or accurate simulations. By contrast, modern structural health monitoring systems allow an improved identification of deteriorations and, thereupon, to drastically advance the lifespan assessment of wind energy converters. In particular, monitoring systems based on artificial intelligence techniques represent a promising approach towards cost-efficient and reliable real-time monitoring. Therefore, an innovative real-time structural health monitoring concept based on software agents is introduced in this contribution. For a short time, this concept is also turned into a real-world monitoring system developed in a DFG joint research project in the authors’ institute at the Ruhr-University Bochum. In this paper, primarily the agent-based development, implementation and application of the monitoring system is addressed, focusing on the real-time monitoring tasks in the deserved detail.