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Research Papers

# Reliability of Wind Turbine Technology Through Time

[+] Author and Article Information
E. Echavarria

Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlandse.echavarriauribe@tudelft.nl

B. Hahn

Institut für Solare Energieversorgungstechnik (ISET), e.V. Königstor 59, D-34119 Kassel, Germaybhahn@iset.uni-kassel.de

G. J. van Bussel

Delft University of Technology, Kluyverweg 1, 2629 HS Delft, The Netherlands

T. Tomiyama

Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands

J. Sol. Energy Eng 130(3), 031005 (Jun 26, 2008) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2936235 History: Received July 30, 2007; Revised April 25, 2008; Published June 26, 2008

## Abstract

This study attempts to obtain more detailed knowledge of failures of wind turbines (WTs) by using the German “$250MW$ Wind” test program database. Specific objectives are to show the reliability of some major components and to analyze how their design has advanced through time, what the main failures are, and which technologies have proven to work. Within the program, reports on operation and maintenance are analyzed with respect to WT type, size, and technologies used. This paper presents a comparison of component reliability through time, with respect to their technology. The results show significant differences in reliability for certain subcomponents depending on the size of the WT and especially on the type of power control. For instance, induction generators show half the annual failure rate compared to synchronous generators. The study also includes failures of other components that are affected or added due to the use of the components being analyzed. In general, the results show that failure rates of WTs decrease with time. Most of the data show a short period of “early failures” and later a long period of “random failures.” However, this is not the case for the megawatt class: As technology is introduced into the market, WTs show a longer early failure behavior, which has not yet become stable. Furthermore, large turbines, included in the database analyzed, show a significantly higher annual failure rate of components, per WT. This may be due to the immature technology of the WTs included in the database.

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## Figures

Figure 5

Example 2 of component failure rates per operational year of a megawatt WT, showing undefined development of reliability

Figure 6

Component failure rates per WT per operational year, depending on the use of stall or pitch control

Figure 4

Example 1 of component failure rates of a megawatt WT per year of operation

Figure 9

Mechanical brakes failure rates per WT per year of operation, depending on the use of stall or pitch control

Figure 10

Component failure rates per WT per operational year, comparing the use of synchronous and induction generators

Figure 7

Hydraulic system failure rates per WT per year of operation, depending on the use of stall or pitch control

Figure 8

Rotor (without blades) failure rates per WT per year of operation, depending on the use of stall or pitch control

Figure 1

Component failure rate per WT per year of operation

Figure 2

Annual number of exchange of main components per WT, for the ten year period of the WMEP

Figure 3

Number of incidents per WT per operational year; WTs are categorized by rated power

Figure 11

Component failure rates per WT per operational year, comparing the use of induction and synchronous generators with a distinction between the use of direct-drive WTs

Figure 12

Generator failure rates per WT per operational year, comparing induction and synchronous generators with a distinction of direct-drive systems

Figure 13

Power electronics failure rates per WT per operational year, comparing induction and synchronous generators with a distinction of direct-drive systems

Figure 14

Mean annual failure rate per WT during the ten year WMEP program

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