Wind Turbine Gearbox Bearing Failures

Tribology and Through-life Maintenance Strategies for Premature Wind Turbine Gearbox Bearing Failures, Southampton University

As the fastest growing renewable energy source, wind energy is facing great tribological challenges due to the nature of wind turbine operations, e.g. slow rotating speed and large structural born vibration and dynamic loading. Premature rotating bearing failures are significantly limiting the life of wind turbine gearboxes, e.g. despite the design life of over 20 years, the actual service life of wind turbine gearboxes is found to be an average of about 5 years and the cost of replacing one gearbox is estimated to be about £300k.

  1. The aim of the feasibility study is to develop joint programmes and proposals in tribology and through-life maintenance strategies for premature wind turbine gearbox bearing failures. The objectives are:
  2. To initiate and identify areas of collaboration between nCATS and CIMTES and establish collaborations between the two centres in wind turbine tribology, condition monitoring and maintenance research;
  3. To carry out an extensive literature review in the above mentioned areas and write joint publications on the state-on-the-art development of wind turbine bearing tribology, monitoring and through-life maintenance strategies;
  4. To build a consortium for an EU bid in 2013, aiming for the FP7 Energy 2013 call (the SET plan), where wind is identified as a key area to be developed. The feasibility study will enable a multi-national consortium to be built to apply for an EU funding, which will then enable further strengthen UK research in energy.

Awarded to: Ling Wang