Health condition monitoring of small-scale tidal generators using miniature torque sensors
To counter global warming and climate change, the EU has set a target for 20 per cent of its energy requirements to be supplied from renewable sources. Among these, tidal energy is currently viewed as the leading emerging technology with large European potential. By 2050, wave and tidal energy is expected to reach an installed capacity of 100GW – sufficient to power 66 million European homes, helping the EU to meet its target of an 80–95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to 1990 levels.
To commercialise a new condition monitoring solution for rotating-shaft tidal stream generators that could help to establish predictive maintenance operation and improve operation reliability and endurance for this class of renewable energy device subject to harsh environmental conditions.
The number of generator malfunctions can potentially be reduced by routine checking of the generators via automated maintenance and control systems. Accurate and informative diagnosis and prognosis systems for tidal power plants can lead to reduced operation and maintenance costs –an improvement of just one per cent will permit global savings of over €6m per year. TidalHealth expects to achieve reductions in these costs of 10–50%. A permanently mounted health monitoring system is expected to reduce the cost of tide-generated electricity by cutting owners’ and operators’ spending on tidal generator inspection.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 663953.